How to Prepare for an OSHA Inspection: A Guest Post

Safety inspections can be intimidating if you are not prepared.

Today’s guest post was written by Tom Reddon. Tom is a forklift specialist and blog manager for the National Forklift Exchange. He also sits on the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) Executive Dialogue team. Follow him on Twitter at @TomReddon
Does the thought of an OSHA inspection send shivers down your spine? Is your company due for an inspection but you shake at the thought of the event? Have no fear! While the Occupational Health and Safety Administration is a notorious enforcer of the laws, regulations, and directives it implements, it is also known as a progressive and open-minded franchise that wants to educate rather than punish. However, if you fear that your inspection won’t go as planned there are steps you can take to reduce the risk and bolster the chances of success. Here are four proven ways to prepare for an OSHA inspection and maximize outcomes from this event:

Have a Comprehensive Safety Program In Place

There is no surer fail-safe way to show OSHA you mean business than by already having a comprehensive safety program in place. There are many ways to achieve this but the important thing to remember is education. Safety education bolsters employee awareness, enhances efficiency, drives productivity, and lowers the chance of workplace incidents and accidents. If OSHA sees you have a comprehensive safety program in place, the statistics will take care of themselves with time. This is also a proven method to reduce liabilities. Furthermore, it’s virtually a requirement. According to EHS, OSHA would like to see safety and health practices concisely documented, readily available, well organized, and precisely worded. Doing this will generate favorable inferences upon inspection.

Foster Safety In The Workplace and Endorse Regulatory Compliance

Continuous improvement is an essential part of fostering safety in the workplace. Instead of resting on laurels and recent successes, management teams should always derive conclusions from their existing practices to improve them. Continuous improvement is synonymous with continuous safety awareness. OSHA’s guidelines and directives evolve with the times. With respect to this, so should your organization’s practices and protocol. Staying up to date on OSHA’s publications, new regulations, and pertinent advisories will only help foster safety in the workplace and ensure compliance. Demonstrating both of these to OSHA will likely cultivate a favorable impression.

Have An Action Plan In Place for Any Workplace Accident or Incident

Accidents do happen. As safe as any person, crew, or business tries to run their operations, incidents are inevitable. Thus, it is important to have an action plan in place for when the unfortunate strikes. Doing so will limit the effects of the incident and prevent further collateral damage. Furthermore, OSHA will like to see that you have intervention exercises ready to deploy as mitigation is bound to fail from time-to-time.

Keep Record of Training Documents and Accident Reports

OSHA requires businesses with 10 or more employees to keep records of any work-related incidents or accidents that produce severe injuries or illnesses. For minor events that require basic first aid only, documentation is not required to be kept. Staying committed to these kinds of endeavors will protect you from fines, substantiate your credibility, and produce a positive perception to OSHA Inspectors.

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