07 Nov 8 Tips for a Smooth OSHA Inspection
OSHA conducts thousands of inspections each year, and the reasons behind them are myriad: a referral, a scheduled visit for a business in a high hazard industry, or a workplace accident investigation are among the most common.
You’re not likely to find a business owner or member of upper management that feels very positively about OSHA inspections. Most are aware, and if not, most OSHA inspectors will eagerly tell you, that very few businesses are 100% compliant at all times. Of course, this lack of enthusiasm won’t keep inspectors from coming to your door – inspections happen and the best way to ensure a smooth experience is to prepare accordingly.
Following these eight straightforward steps will significantly improve your experience:
- Appoint a committee. Which departments need to be involved? Who would you like to see take the lead? OSHA inspections are easier on all parties when they’re well planned and coordinated. Because members of this committee, including your point-person, will be involved in daily debriefings and opening and closing conferences, they need to be informed, organized, and professional.
- Get organized. Once you’ve decided on a committee, it’s time to write up a “Preparedness Plan.” This document will detail your plan for inspection, including everything from your designated escort(s) to a reliable log of where you can find all relevant paperwork. If there are certain guidelines you want your employees to follow, make note of it here. Distribute your plan to all employees but do not share it with inspectors.
- OSHA requires training on many subjects such as PPE and toxic or hazardous substances. This perhaps goes without saying, but if OSHA has mandated training for activities your employees engage in, you will want to ensure they have received that training, that it has been documented, and you have access to that documentation.
- Maintain professionalism at all times. When inspectors arrive ask them for credentials. Make an effort to include at least one member of upper management in both opening and closing conferences. Feel free to engage in small talk but never argue, share opinions about regulations, act evasively, or lie.
- Give them what they ask for. If they need to see documentation, provide it to them in a timely manner. Do your best to answer all of their questions, but be careful not to speculate or guess. If you’re unsure about a particular question, politely let them know that you will get back to them when you know more.
- Do what the inspectors do. If you’re asked for documentation, be sure to make a copy and keep it for your records. If an inspector is sampling something, you should also have someone take a sample at the same time and with the same equipment. If photographs are taken, follow suit and photograph the same areas.
- Correct problems throughout the inspection. When an issue arises, do your best to handle it while inspectors are present or at the very least, notify them the following day.
- Make good use of the closing conference. Whether or not things have gone well, you will want to have a member of upper management present. Use this time to talk about the changes you’ve made over the course of the inspection.
When it comes to OSHA inspections, preparedness is clearly your best line of defense. For more information on how ECOFLO can assist you with this, use this link to get in touch with us.
This article was provided Hazardous Waste Experts