An OSHA inspection can be an unpleasant experience for any workplace. But what if an inspector shows up at your door? It can happen anytime without warning, and if you’re unprepared, it leads to stress, anxiety and costly fines.
Why Does OSHA Perform Inspections?
OSHA safety inspections help prevent workplace incidents, injuries and illnesses. Think of them as a proactive on-site review of your workplace for potential hazards that could impact the health and safety of your employees.
However, inspections are not limited to your building. They can also address the following:
- Construction sites
- Manufacturing operations
- Other procedures
A safety inspection aims to identify hazards, monitor OSHA standards and ensure you and your employees implement corrective actions.
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How To Prepare for an OSHA Inspection
In a previous article, we asked whether or not you’re ready for a visit from OSHA. If the answer is no, you can’t afford to put it off any longer.
Ensuring your workplace complies with all relevant safety regulations and standards will involve:
- Conducting safety training
- Maintaining accurate records
- Addressing any safety hazards, promptly
Be sure to identify all safety hazards in the workplace and on job sites, if applicable.
Your OSHA Inspection Checklist
Here are 5 considerations for your workplace health and safety assessment:
1. EMPLOYEE KNOWLEDGE AND TRAINING
Workplace health and safety starts with your workforce. That’s why every OSHA inspection will gauge and audit your employees’ safety aptitude. Here’s how to prepare and avoid any violations hiding around your facility.
- Ensure your employees have gone through the necessary safety training and document training. Also, be sure you’re conducting training annually or as needed.
- Appoint one employee responsible for the safety program.
- Have a working procedure for handling employee complaints promptly.
- Create a formal disciplinary procedure for communicating safety to your team.
Properly communicate safe work practices and company expectations.
- Create an employee handbook and company policy manual that you require all employees to read.
- Develop written programs to comply with OSHA and other regulatory agencies that pertain to your workplace hazards.
- Make a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for each work task or procedure. Then, review them with employees so they know the hazards associated with performing their jobs and document all training.
- Create written emergency action plans and train accordingly.
When handling tools and equipment, your workers must know how to use them correctly. To improve workplace safety, your OSHA inspection checklist must include:
- Ensuring employees have access to proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where hazards have been recognized, and PPE has been deemed necessary. Proper equipment may include—but is not limited to—goggles, hard hats, gloves, aprons, shields, respirators, and more.
- Making sure fire extinguishers are accessible, conducting training and ensuring that appropriate signage is visible.
- Requiring employees with high-risk equipment or tools to have the correct initial training, reviewing the JHA and conducting ongoing training.
- Having all proper machine guarding in place and train employees on the hazards associated with removing, bypassing or compromising any machine guard device (i.e., saws, power tools, mills, lathes, punch presses, bending machines, shears, drills, etc.).
4. CHEMICAL USAGE
An OSHA inspection may gravitate toward chemicals or hazardous and toxic materials at the workplace. Therefore, mitigating the risk of exposure in the workspace is crucial if you’re dealing with any chemicals.
- Create a chemical inventory for all chemicals in the workplace.
- Review all Safety Data Sheets (SDS) with employees where chemicals are present.
- Have an effective housekeeping program in place and follow all guidelines outlined in the SDS for cleanup, PPE, storage, etc.
5. BUILDING AND GROUNDS
Too often, organizations will overlook building and ground components as potential hazards. Therefore, when walking through your facility, look at the following areas that may pose a risk to an employee.
- Your building and work areas must have adequate lighting.
- Ensure proper signage for exits, fire extinguishers, eye-wash stations, evacuation shelters, first-aid kits, etc.
- For work environments with limited oxygen, conduct testing to ensure proper levels are met.
- Follow all stairway requirements (i.e., railings, step depth, and width).
- Egress exits must be free of obstructions that can create roadblocks.
- Ensure sidewalks are free of cracks and missing concrete to reduce slips, trips and falls.
- Your facility floor must be free of cracks or chunks to ensure secure forklift operations and a safe walking/working surface.
Free Webinar on How to Prepare for an OSHA Inspection
While this is a general OSHA inspection checklist, it may not encompass all of a company’s risks and hazards. Therefore, we encourage you to seek outside assistance if you’re even remotely concerned.
To get started, we invite you to sign up for our free webinar, “OSHA at the Door: Be Prepared.” Our experts will help you prepare a safety plan and train your leadership team to handle OSHA visits seamlessly.
Be Ready. Feel prepared. Stay confident during an OSHA inspection with OECS.