Tips for Managing an OSHA Inspection

osha checklistOne of the topics covered at the March 10th Construction Law Seminar by presenter Craig Martin, Attorney with Lamson, Dugan & Murray, was how to manage an OSHA Inspection.

The threat of an OSHA safety inspection is very real. In 2014, OSHA and the various states with their own OSHA programs, performed over 83,000 inspections. And given that two of the top three most frequently cited violations, fall protection and scaffolding, involve construction standards, the threat is even more real for the construction industry.

Mr. Martin sites the first step in managing the OSHA inspection is to be prepared.

  • It is important to adopt a safety program and train your employees on the program. Companywide training should be scheduled annually, with safety meetings and tool box talks to support the training guidelines taking place regularly. This training should instruct employees to wear proper protective equipment, to safely operate tools, and to recognize and report safety hazards. OSHA may consider the qualifications of the trainer as well as whether the training was live or simply a video. Companies may want to consider the OSHA 10 hour and 30 hour safety courses for employees.
  • Make sure your employee handbook addresses the importance of safety and the opportunities for safety training.
  • It is equally important to document all of your training. This documentation should include a sign-in sheet for all attendees, the topics covered, and any handouts or visual aids that were used during the training.
  • Make sure you have the proper forms completed. This includes the OSHA 300, Log of Work Related Injuries and Illness; OSHA 300A, Summary of Work Related Injuries and Illness; and OSHA 301, Injury and Illness Report Form. These are the first forms the OSHA inspector will ask to review.
  • You should also designate a specific individual as the OSHA inspection representative. This may be the company’s safety officer or a consultant who is on call to assist with an inspection. If you use an employee as the OSHA inspection representative ,they should be trained on the company’s safety and health program and applicable regulations. At a minimum, the OSHA inspection representative should know:
    • The employer’s obligation to comply with the General Duty Clause
    • The employer’s right to accompany the OSHA inspector during the inspections
    • The employer’s right to take side-by-side photos and samples
  • Finally, it is a good idea to conduct self-audits of your procedures and record keeping. Are you holding training; are you documenting your training; are you maintaining your OSHA forms?

Being prepared before the OSHA inspector appears will increase your chances of surviving an OSHA inspection.  You can find more information on this and other topics at Craig’s Construction Contractor Advisor blog.

The information contained in this blog post is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the topic, not to provide specific legal advice.