Is Your Company Prepared for an OSHA Inspection?
Often, OSHA inspections are unscheduled. Make sure you’re prepared in the event of an unscheduled inspection.
When an inspector arrives unannounced, confirm their credentials by copying his/her badge number and calling the local OSHA office to confirm.
The Inspection Process
1. The process starts with an opening consultation, during which they review why the workplace was selected for inspection, how they’re going to conduct the survey and what paperwork they’ll need to review. You should assign a couple of employees to accompany the officer during the inspection. One person who is familiar with all facility operations and safety procedures, and another that can take notes and pictures of everything the inspector points out.
2. The next phase of the inspection is the walk around. Make sure your employee takes detailed notes when reviewing any violations. These details could help mitigate fines associated with violations.
3. The last part of the inspection is the closing conference. In this phase, the compliance officer will outline his findings and reveal any citations and proposed penalties. You can provide any explanations or documentation to offset the findings. If there’s evidence of OSHA standards violations or if serious hazards are identified, they may issue citations and fines.
OSHA is required to send a written violation report, “Citation and Notification of Penalty,” within six months of the visit. The report will describe the following:
• The alleged OSHA standard(s) violated (categorized as Willful, Serious, Other than Serious, Failure to Abate, or Repeated)
• Proposed penalties
• Deadline for correcting alleged hazards/violations.
This Citation and Notification of Penalty Report must be posted in a conspicuous area of your business at all locations.
For violations categorized as ‘Serious,’ OSHA has a practice of reducing penalties that pertain to small employers and those acting in good faith. However, this would not apply to alleged ‘Willful’ violations.
Your Right to Appeal
You have the right to appeal. However your appeal must be submitted within 15 working days, after receipt of the officer’s written citation report and submitted to the OSHA Area Director in writing. Once this period elapses, you lose the right to appeal completely and your written citation becomes your final order. Your penalty payment is also due within 15 working days after receipt of the officer’s written citation report.
It is important to stay up to date on all OSHA regulations, not only for the safety of your employees but also for the efficiency and effectiveness of your business. Contact your McSweeney & Ricci Account Manager for more information regarding OSHA standards, or click here for a list of required OSHA Standards.
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