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What to Do When OSHA Calls

One morning, a frantic customer called our risk manager, asking, "OSHA is here. What do I do?" Fortunately for "Alice," a plant manager, our risk manager was able to immediately provide her with support and direct her on what to do. He emailed Alice the necessary OSHA logs, traveled to her facility, reviewed the documents with the OSHA representative and accompanied him on the facility inspection.

When you see the OSHA representative (or the state equivalent) standing in the lobby with clipboard, safety glasses and camera in hand, there is a dreaded anxious feeling that comes over you. Like Alice, you could probably use a little help.

What to Expect

Not everyone is as lucky as Alice. You may not have a risk manager available to take over the audit, but our sage advice can help you prepare. 

Legally, you can ask them to leave but practically, that is not a good choice. The best thing to do is remain calm and be cooperative. Here is what to expect:

1. First, the OSHA representative explains the reason for their visit. Is it a random inspection? Did they receive a complaint? Did a specific incident occur? Was there a fatality?

2. They ask for your records: Training files, OSHA Logs and MSDS files.

3. They tour your facility and look for deficiencies. Don't panic, it is their job.

4. When they find deficiencies, be honest and accept responsibility for the problems. Work on ways to correct and prevent future instances.

5. Then, the agency issues a formal report that outlines deficiencies and notes potential fines.

6. You have the option to respond to their report and pay the fines, but it is better to request an informal conference.

7. An informal conference is a great way to demonstrate a proactive response and show your concern for the problems identified in your place of business. In this meeting, you can explain how you plan to resolve the problems and request a removal of the fines. Progress and a plan of action to address the problems generally results in a reduction of fines on other deficiencies as well. 

You Are Not Alone

If you are like Alice and you need a little extra help to prepare for an OSHA inspection, we provide the expertise and experience to assist you. Contact us for guidance with your Safety Programs.



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