A Comprehensive Guide to OSHA Inspections

Businesses, regardless of the industry in which they operate or the size of the company, undergo a rigorous annual schedule of inspections and maintenance routines. The vast majority of which involve preparation and can lead to costly outgoings if policies and procedures are not strictly adhered to.

One such necessary inspection is that of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or OSHA, so here, for your information and guidance, is a comprehensive guide to OSHA inspections for your own business.

Fundamental Elements of an OSHA Inspection

OSHA inspections essentially involve a complete and thorough walk round of the workplace with a firm emphasis on protecting and assisting employees and employers. Officers carrying out OSHA inspections are responsible for preventing disease and illnesses, attempting to reduce all hazards and basically ensuring that accidents are kept to an absolute minimum.

The different types of OSHA inspections consist of the following:

  • Employee Complaint Inspections
  • Imminent Danger Inspections
  • Programmed & Scheduled Inspections
  • Investigative Inspections
  • Follow-Up Inspections

Across the entirety of the United States, there are approximately 1,800 OSHA officers which works out at one compliance officer for just over 70,000 workers.

Steps For Managers in Identifying Hazards

OSHA is a federal and therefore highly standardized set of policies and procedures that are regimentally adhered to, in order to keep both your employees and yourself as safe as possible in and around the workplace.

Regarding the identification of hazards, there is a five-step process that is always strictly followed:

Step 1: Gather existing information and data of all possible hazards in the workplace

Step 2: Inspect the entirety of the workplace for safety hazards

Step 3: Inspect the entirety of the workplace for health hazards

Step 4: Conduct investigations around each incident

Step 5: Identify all hazards associated with non-routine and emergency situations

How To Prepare for an OSHA Inspection

As in most other areas of business, preparation is the best way to ensure things go as smoothly as can be expected and an OSHA inspection is no different.

To be as prepared as possible, it is strongly advisable to download a concise and incredibly informative OSHA inspection guide and thoroughly read and understand every single section prior to the visit.

Ensure every member of your workforce is briefed on the impending OSHA inspection and the chronological order of events.

The OSHA Inspection Process

From beginning to end, there are essentially three main segments of a basic OSHA inspection: the opening conference, a walkaround of the workplace and the closing conference.

The Opening Conference

Opening conferences are part and parcel of every single OSHA inspection and consist of a briefing given by the officer to the manager, department heads and any other relevant staff members who can help the inspection run smoothly and to time.

The Workplace Walk Around

This second component of the OSHA inspection is the workplace walk around, where the officer is taken on a thorough walk around of the entire premises, escorted by a manager. And taking notes as they enter each section of the venue.

The Closing Conference

During the closing conference, a de-brief will be given by the OSHA officer, whereby they will inform the appropriate members of the management of their findings, conclusions and any action that will subsequently be taken.