Things might appear to be operating smoothly in your warehouse or distribution center, but how prepared are you if OSHA decides to inspect your facility?
If the thought of it makes you feel uncomfortably stressed and vulnerable to potential fines, you are not alone. A visit from OSHA is nerve-wracking for everyone involved, even for well-managed facilities.
For example, inspections typically involve a request for the employer to produce certain documents. Employers might be uncertain which documents the inspector is entitled to see and copy.
There are also rules about what documentation must be kept and how long certain documents must be retained. It can be stressful, unless you have a well thought-out strategy and a system that documents and saves everything required.
How to exceed basic OSHA code of conduct
To be prepared for an OSHA inspection, it’s wise to look beyond minimum compliance. Essentially, identify and avoid the cause of any future violations. Here’s how:
- Complete a site assessment to break down the hazards contributing to incidents. These hazards can be difficult to identify.
- Review compliance programs such as OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) — partnering can help you improve safety culture in your work environment.
- Break out of the safety routine. Create teams that compete on their knowledge of forklifts and safety.
Leverage telematic insight to prevent violations
Your telematics platform should support all your safety measures and provide documented proof for the inspector that protocol was followed.
- Safety Checklist – vehicle locks out when operator incorrectly answers a safety question
- Unit Profile – configured to lockout a truck on impact, so the vehicle cannot be operated. Only a maintenance user, logged in to the unit, can reset the lockout
- Documented Proof - Any unit that has been or is in lockout state is tracked within the system. The documentation can be exported out in report form.
- Operator certifications and training – shows operators who have completed training, when it was completed, and expiration dates. The system can be configured to stop a vehicle from being used if the operator does not have the correct certifications.
- Accident near-miss tracking – data organized by operator and vehicle. This provides information to managers to meet training requirements.
- Data is kept on the server - accessible at any time either from the production system or, if archived, from the archived file
- Proof of periodic inspections – documents annual inspections and retention of certifications for one year, or until a new certification is created; retains employee training records for the duration of employment.
OSHA recently increased its maximum penalties for inspection violations by 78 percent, skyrocketing the maximum penalty of $7,000 for a serious violation up to $12,471.
Be prepared and document everything. Even enterprises focused on safety can be subjected to an OSHA inspection. Assess risks and hazards, and use telematic insight to identify and address potential violations.