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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Top-10 Dos and Don’ts during OSHA Inspections:

(Two OSHA inspectors provided these tips at the American Society of Safety Engineers’ 2010 annual conference.)

1.Don’t make me wait. It just tells me you’re not ready. Nothing you can do at the last minute is going to make much difference anyway.

2.It’s best to be open with me.

3.Don’t try to block my line of site by bringing a bunch of employees along on the walk-through. I’ll wait until I get to see what I want to see. Some of us use digital cameras. Some of us even videotape the inspection.

4.Be prepared to answer questions. Have all required OSHA documents, including those outlining safety plans, ready for me.

5.Don’t discourage employees from talking to me. I’ll talk to them one way or another. I find ways to slip employees my business card, and once I do, they usually call. If necessary, I’ll get a subpoena to talk to your employees.

6.Don’t lie to me. That makes me angry.

7.Think about hazards, not just standards, when you evaluate your workplace for safety. I look for hazards, not standard violations.

8.Have your training documents in order. I do look at them. If you have Hispanic employees, make sure you have documentation that they understood your safety training.

9.Plan ahead and designate a person or people who will meet with me. Make sure the person is prepared. It doesn’t matter to me whether you have a full-time safety manager or not. That doesn’t make me any tougher or easier on a company.

10.Check out OSHA’s Field Operations Manual for inspectors. Even though it’s written for inspectors, it’s available to anyone for free on the OSHA website (you can download a PDF here). It’s a great resource to prepare any company for the possibility of an OSHA inspection.