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OSHA Inspection

OSHA Inspections and Compliance Checklist

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CQ OSHA Inspections and Compliance Checklist

OSHA Inspections and Compliance Checklist

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 provides guidelines for ensuring workplace safety for employees and the environment. To ensure compliance, OSHA also conducts periodic inspections to ensure compliance.

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Why is OSHA inspection important?

OSHA guidelines have evolved over the years to meet the changing dynamics of the work environment. Employers must also comply with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act. By adhering to the recommended OSHA practices, employers and business owners understand the need for these safety guidelines as it helps:

  • prevent injuries, illness, or even death in the workplace
  • overcome financial suffering and hardship that can affect workers, family, or even the employers
  • improve workplace morale
  • create favorable brand image among the community of customers and suppliers
  • reduce the attrition rate

OSHA upholds the safety of the workforce through the following methods:

  • Inspections
  • Severe Violator Enforcement Program
  • Whistleblower Program

However, OSHA has only 2,000 inspectors to monitor the 8 million employers and 130 million workers under its jurisdiction. Therefore, it conducts inspections only under the following circumstances:

  • Imminent danger situations
  • Fatalities and catastrophes
  • Complaints registered by employees
  • Referrals from other agencies
  • Follow-up inspections for worksites previously found to be in violation of OSHA health and safety standards
  • Planned or programmed investigations of targeted industries or areas

This makes OSHA inspection assume extra significance. But it need not be. By creating a compliance checklist and diligently adhering to it, you can minimize the chances of an OSHA inspection.

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    OSHA Inspection and Compliance

    What does OSHA look for during an inspection?

    OSHA inspectors, called compliance safety and health officers, primarily conduct on-site inspections and phone/fax investigations to ensure companies comply with OSHA requirements. Inspections are focused on the following:

    • OSHA -1
      Potential hazards, hidden in apparently safe areas of the work and equipment that are deemed harmless
    • OSHA -2
      Causes for any complaint from employees, organizations, other agencies, and the media that triggered the inspection
    • OSHA -3
      Causes for serious injuries and fatalities
    • OSHA -4
      High-risk jobs

    Organizations with 10 or fewer employees are exempted from unannounced OSHA safety audits.

    What are the main parts of the OSHA inspection?

    There are three parts to OSHA inspection – opening conference, walkaround, closing conference.

    • Opening Conference
      Opening Conference – This is the first step in the inspection where the compliance officer will explain

      • The reason behind the inspection
      • Scope of the inspection
      • Walkaround procedures
      • Employee representation
      • Employee interviews

      Once the officer explains their part, a representative selected by the company accompanies the officer through the inspection. The compliance officer can speak with other employees as part of the inspection.

    • Walkaround
      Walkaround – As the actual inspection starts, the officer and the representatives walk through the workplace, inspecting for violations that could lead to employee injury or illness, any reported worksite injury and illness records, and the posting of the official OSHA poster. Any apparent violations that can be corrected immediately are pointed but cited in the report as part of the inspection. The officer is bound to keep witness of trade secrets confidential.
    • Closing Conference
      Closing Conference – Once the walkaround inspection is complete, the compliance officer holds a closing conference to discuss the findings. The agenda includes discussions about possible courses of action an employer may take following an inspection, such as an informal conference with OSHA, contesting citations, and proposed penalties. The compliance officer and employer, along with the representatives, also discuss consultation services and employee rights.

    Best ways to pass an OSHA inspection

    To ensure that the inspection process is completed successfully, follow these simple steps

    • ISO 9001
      Establish a process to be followed in case of OSHA inspection. The process must include an employee representative who will be accompanying the inspector during the walkaround.
    • ISO 9001
      Maintain proper records as part of OSHA guidelines. Documentation of workplace incidents, CAPA, and other workplace safety-related records are important to pass OSHA inspection.
    • ISO 9001
      Answers all questions with accuracy without ambiguity. Vague answers do not sit well with the inspectors. Cite answers with proper reasoning and explanation without getting too technical.
    • ISO 9001
      Address issues as quickly as possible by establishing a possible timeline and CAPA that is achievable. Ask any questions if needed to better understand the shortcomings mentioned in the audit.
    • ISO 9001
      Provide training programs based on the latest rules and regulations.

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    Top 10 OSHA compliance inspection checklist

    OSHA recommendations are focused on keeping the organization OSHA compliant and protect the employees from any imminent danger. To implement the guidelines for improved worker safety and health, OSHA recommends the following practices:


    • ISO 9001
      Prioritize safety and health
      OSHA recommends advising employees that they are taken care of. The management should assure the employees with words and fix any hazards that could threaten their workplace safety.
    • ISO 9001
      Lead by example
      Always make safety an essential part of the daily conversation and take initiatives to practice safe behaviors
    • ISO 9001
      Implement a diligent reporting system
      OSHA mandates reporting. To comply and make the workplace safer, create an effective reporting procedure, preferably anonymously, for workers on any injuries, illnesses, incidents (including near misses/close calls), hazards, or safety and health concerns.
    • ISO 9001
      Training program
      Conduct training programs for workers to identify and control hazards using OSHA tools, such as OSHA’s Hazard Identification Training Tool.
    • ISO 9001
      Practice internal inspection
      Use OSHA recommended checklists to internally inspect the workplace and survey the workers regarding equipment or material functioning.
    • ISO 9001
      Prepare a guidebook for hazard control
      Interview workers for suggestions and ideas to improve the workplace and protect the floor from any hazards.
    • ISO 9001
      Delegate hazard control implementation
      Make the process more effective by assigning hazard control solutions to workers. Assign workers duties related to choosing to implement and evaluating the solutions
    • ISO 9001
      Create contingency plans
      Develop instructions on foreseeable emergency scenarios and conduct drills to review the plan.
    • ISO 9001
      Consult with workers
      Review new equipment or material with workers to identify potential issues related to safety or health.
    • ISO 9001
      Identify and improvise
      Include safety and health issues to the meeting agenda.

    OSHA requirements which apply to most general industry employers

    OSHA guidelines are primarily focused on the safety of the employees. Other industry players can also take a cue from these guidelines and incorporate certain basic procedures such as

    • ISO 9001
      Management leadership
    • ISO 9001
      Workplace participation
    • ISO 9001
      Hazard & Identification assessment
    • ISO 9001
      Hazard & prevention control
    • ISO 9001
      Education & training
    • ISO 9001
      Program evaluation & improvement
    • ISO 9001
      Communication and coordination with contractors, and staffing agencies

    OSHA requirements which apply to most general industry employers

    OSHA guidelines are primarily focused on the safety of the employees. Other industry players can also take a cue from these guidelines and incorporate certain basic procedures such as

    • Management leadership
    • Workplace participation
    • Hazard & Identification assessment
    • Hazard & prevention control
    • Education & training
    • Program evaluation & improvement
    • Communication and coordination with contractors, and staffing agencies

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Which industries does ComplianceQuest cater to?
    ComplianceQuest is an environment, health, and safety solution provider with decades of experience and expertise in the area of safety. Our solutions are aligned to OSHA and cater to a wide range of industries, including:

    • Aerospace and Defense
    • Automotive
    • Blood and Tissue
    • Cannabis
    • Construction
    • Consumer Packaged Goods
    • Food and Beverages
    • General Manufacturing
    • Government
    • Healthcare & Life Sciences
    • Hi-Tech
    • Medical Devices
    • Mining
    • Oil and Gas
    • Pharmaceutical and Biotech
    • Transportation
    • Utilities
    What are the benefits of CQ’s Safety, Health, and Environment management system to the organization?
    A solution such as ComplianceQuest’s Safety, Health, and Environment management system, harnessing cloud-based Salesforce.com’s power, scalability, and flexibility, enables you to:

    • Design: Build exhaustive processes, workflows, and checklists to manage workplace safety interventions.
    • Monitor: Track workplace safety data in real-time, with data visibility across the organization.
    • Act: Take action based on predictive analytics and a proactive mindset.
    • Improve: Take corrective or preventive action as needed in a timely manner.

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