If you are a workplace owner, small or big, it is obvious for you to face an OSHA inspection.
There are certain rules and regulations you need to follow to maintain a workplace. A healthy working environment and employee safety are the two most important concerns.
There are some other guidelines as well. The most difficult part is you need to be always prepared to face this kind of inspection. Because there will be no prior notice.
If you violate the guidelines, your company may face heavy penalties. So, it’s better to be fully prepared for a random inspection.
Considering this fact we have come up with the seven most effective tips to pass an OSHA inspection effectively.
What Is an OSHA Inspection
An OSHA inspection is a random inspection at companies or worksites. It started back in 1970 to preserve the rights of the employees. The elaboration of OSHA is The Occupational Safety and Health Act.
In any workplace, some unwanted incidents take place from time to time including death. Sometimes employees get hurt or injured because of the negligence of the employers or lack of safety or precautions.
In order to ensure a safe and secured worksite environment, certain rules are listed. A company must follow those rules strictly to get the green signal. Otherwise, it has to face a heavy monetary penalty.
According to recent statistics, OSHA conducted 32,020 federal inspections and 40,993 State Plan inspections only in the year 2018. So, there is no way you can avoid the audit.
How It Is Performed
Usually, this type of inspection is executed by an inspector from OSHA. He/ she can pay a visit anytime. They are called health and safety officers who work to reduce the chaos in the job sites. Making the business owners maintain the OSHA requirements is their main goal.
It is divided into three phases- Opening Conference, Facility Walk-Through, and Closing Conference.
In the beginning, the inspector usually introduces himself/ herself, shows accreditation, and discusses the purposes of the visit. This part is the opening conference.
In this phase, an interview may also take place with the employees.
The most important part is the facility walk-through.
In this part, the inspector will inspect the company environment evidently and determine if the guidelines are being followed properly. The manager must accompany him to answer any questions.
A record of the observations is kept for further use.
After the examination, there comes the result. No exception here. Once the walk-through is over, the inspector declares if any issue is found. If yes, then he must require the owner to fix it.
If the violation cannot be fixed immediately, a follow-up process is instructed. The company must follow it properly and resolve it within the shortest possible time frame.
If any serious rule is violated, the company might have to pay a lot of fees as a penalty.
7 Tips to Easily Pass an OSHA Inspection
Passing an OSHA inspection is not a get-at-able job. You must be thoroughly prepared for the whole procedure. But no worries. This is not any rocket technology either. Just a bit of awareness and some smart moves can get you out of trouble.
The following seven tricks are pretty effective to smoothly pass the inspection process and save your company’s reputation.
What are they? Well, details are described below.
1. Thoroughly Learn the Guidelines
As a business owner, you must have an in-depth knowledge of the complete OSHA guidelines. As there will be no announcement before the audit, you must be fully prepared to face the inquiry. That is why every detail of the OSHA requirements must be gone throughout.
Focus on their demands on the workplace environment and design it accordingly. Learn the dos and don’ts to avoid penalties.
In a word, knowing the ins and outs of the guidelines will get your job half done. Because you can priorly guess what the inspector will expect in the inspection process.
Also, staying updated with the latest changes. Otherwise, you might miss any important amendment and end up being victimized. So, stay up to date.
2. Perform Internal Audit
Once you know the exact requirement, you would be able to check your company by yourself. And you should definitely go for it.
Performing internal audits every now and then will let you specify the potential risks. You can work on rectifying those before an inspector finds them out. In this way, you can always stay proactive and lessen the risk factors of getting penalized.
During the internal inspection, make your employees connected as well.
3. Plan the Procedure
You should prepare a foolproof plan to overcome the hazardous investigation process. Always remember that the investigator is there to detect even the smallest hole. So, be sure you have an infallible scheme ready.
You should plan the whole process based on the three phases of an OSHA inspection. First, select an appropriate place for the opening and closing conference. Make sure to let the officer investigate only those employees whom you have prepared before.
Try to keep fewer members connected to the process. Because involving too many will be risky.
Also, make sure that the officer can visit the site properly during the walk-through session. Try to keep records on your own to match the records given later.
4. Prepare Flawless Paperwork
All the previous records of the company including injuries, death, penalties, should be accessible immediately when required. These documents are your striking weapon to fight any legal battle. Also, they will please the inspector and prove your professionalism.
Here, the noteworthy point is that the documents should be error-free. All the records should be authentic and complete. Also, try not to waste time searching for them. Keep them organized and make sure you never lose any single paperwork ever.
5. Train Your Employees
This is a long-term way, but probably the most fruitful one to face an inspection anytime.
You must provide proper safety training to the employees to avoid death and injuries. Only meeting the safety compliance standard should not be your goal. Instead, saving the lives of the workers is also important.
Not only training will do. But supplying the proper materials is equally important. Please provide the updated equipment to ensure a safe work ambiance. This continuous process will increase your credential as an employer.
6. Don’t Hesitate, Be Confident
The next tip for you to be confident enough to answer the questions properly. Even if you lack any information, answer firmly but politely. Hesitation can lead to misunderstanding and make things go really wrong.
Cooperation is the best way to get things sorted. Avoiding any question deliberately will give birth to a lot of speculations and the inspector will dig up into detail.
So, answer the questions with honesty and confidence.
7. Take Swift Action
If any violation is found in the walk-through process, take immediate action to fix it up. Waiting for the official citation is not a wise decision.
In fact, if you can provide the document of abatement action in the closing conference, your chance of avoiding penalties will reduce a lot. In this way, you can develop a more professional relationship with OSHA as well.
That means, once you know the problem, you should instantly take action to solve it.
Facing an OSHA inspection is not a wishful desire by any company or business. But the fact is, it cannot be avoided as well. Moreover, the inspection result can have a direct impact on the whole system.
So, to face it gracefully some smart tips and tricks are shared above. If you follow those rules properly, we are sure that the inspection process will be a lot easier for you.
Having a detailed plan, some key personnel to execute the plan, and some basic rules to maintain- these are the key points of passing an OSHA inspection successfully.
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