An OSHA audit can happen anytime. But imagine having a surprise inspection occur simultaneously during an OSHA investigation for an entirely different issue.
To paint a better picture of what this means for your business, consider the following scenario:
You own a company with no more than 20 employees. One day, an employee gets hurt on the job site. He is then sent to the hospital, and OSHA is informed of the accident. A day later, another employee calls OSHA in regards to an employee complaint.
As a result, an OSHA inspector shows up to assess the employee’s complaint. During the OSHA inspection, the inspector realizes that your company’s name has come up on a random list for a full inspection.
Now the inspector is investigating the employee complaint, and once that is complete, he or she will begin an OSHA audit for the entire facility.
But it gets worse.
During the audit, the investigator discovers there could be some carbon monoxide issues in the building. The investigator then requests an Industrial Hygienist from OSHA to schedule a time to come in for air monitoring.
WOW, in less than 10 days, your company of no more than 20 employees has already had 4 individual OSHA investigations.
They go as follows:
- The employee accident where an employee performed an unsafe act that caused him to slip, fall and hit his head. Due to the injury, he ended up in the hospital.
- A disgruntled employee chooses to call OSHA for an issue that may have been easily solved through Human Resources (HR).
- Your company drew the long straw, and now has to undergo a random audit of the entire facility, which includes a routine, general inspection from wall to wall.
- During the OSHA audit, the investigator discovers potential carbon monoxide issues in the building, which now requires the expertise of an Industrial Hygienist.
In the end, your company has already received two OSHA packets and is now waiting for two more. This is what we call the perfect storm, and what business owners refer to as “their worst nightmare!”
Feeling Unprepared for an OSHA Visit?
As an employer, we cringe when we have to sign for even 1 OSHA packet, but in this scenario, the company in question is signing for 4 different OSHA mailings.
It sounds like a nightmare, but it can happen. So, the question on the floor is simply this: Are you prepared for an OSHA visit?
To help you better grasp this question, let’s break it down even further:
- Do you educate your employees on workplace safety?
- Do you inform your team of the hazards associated with their jobs?
- Do you discipline individuals, if they perform an unsafe act, or do you look the other way?
- Do you make sure the air quality and industrial hygiene is monitored on a regular basis?
All of these issues, as well as the ones cited earlier, could have been corrected and avoided if the employees were trained and aware of the potential hazards.
Of course, no one is perfect, but receiving 4 individual OSHA citations based on a company of approximately 20 employees is not how anyone hopes to start their week—especially when it could have been avoided.
Learn How to Prepare for an OSHA Inspection
At OECS, our team can help. For more than 3 decades, we’ve created safe work environments for thousands of employees throughout the Midwest.
From educating and training your employees to laying out the safety programs necessary for employee involvement, we go beyond compliance.
Our mission is to help you build a strong safety culture that keeps employees returning home safe—and in turn, your company and building are prepared and ready for a surprise OSHA visit.