There are lots of reasons for OSHA to come knocking at your door, but none are particularly pleasant. The financially and manpower-strapped agency typically arranges its visits based upon a higher-than-normal incident rate, accident and/or death, complaint, or perceived imminent danger.
Whatever the case, it’s important for a company to be prepared. This is especially true for the small to mid-sized company that might not necessarily have dedicated personnel to handle a safety program and its associated documentation.
Wayne Smith, regional safety manager for a major petrochemical plant in Lake Charles, says his safety personnel attend regional and national Voluntary Protection Program workshops to keep up to date on the latest regulations. “It gives you a good insight into what’s going on. And OSHA also puts out a lot of publications about what they’re finding and their top 10 violations for the previous year.”
Still, staying on top of the latest iterations of OSHA policy, along with the voluminous amount of documentation, can be a daunting task. Fortunately, Smith and other safety professionals say, there are some steps an employer of any size can take to ensure an inspection goes smoothly, regardless of the circumstances.