Even though surprise OSHA inspections are rare, contractors should always be prepared if and when a government compliance officer knocks at the door. From assigning team responsibilities to performing internal audits, these five tips can help you ace an unexpected inspection.
What can cause a surprise OSHA Inspection?
Federal and state agencies conduct about 100,000 inspections per year. Although the reasons can vary, the most common causes are:
- Catastrophes and fatalities
- Employee complaints
- Random selection
- Follow-up inspections
What to do before OSHA Knocks
1) Assign Responsibilities
First, you should put someone in charge of greeting the OSHA investigator at the door. This representative of your company should be an individual who knows your policies inside out. They will also must be able to locate all important company documents are located. In case that person is out of the office, you should also select a backup representative who is capable of fulfilling the role.
2) Perform Job Hazards Analyses and Safety Trainings
In order to be OSHA compliant, employers are required to perform hazards analyses for each type of job performed in the workplace. You should fill out a form that details what hazards exist for each job and how you have worked to reduce them. You are also obligated to have completed all employee safety training requirements.
3) Keep Accurate Records
Clearly documenting every important detail will help you pass a surprise OSHA inspection with flying colors. You should have careful records of every training course each employee has completed. You will also need know where to find important paperwork, like workers’ compensation files, insurance documents and third-party audits.
4) Know your Rights
Before an inspector appears unannounced, you should carefully review your rights.
While a company representative must be prepared to talk to OSHA, employees are not required to speak with an investigator. If an employee consents to speak with OSHA, they are not required to be recorded or sign a witness statement.
5) Perform Regular Internal Audits
Employers should always be prepared for the possibility of an OSHA inspection. You should periodically review paperwork to make sure all required safety training has been administered and recorded. Every so often, do a walk-though of your job site to look for potential violations that could possibly be corrected.
By taking these precautions, you will not only be ready for a surprise OSHA inspection but you will also create a safer environment for every employee.