How often do your safety and compliance officers conduct inspections of your workplace?  OSHA is responsible for regular workplace health and safety concerns to ensure businesses are in compliance with their standards, which includes physical surveys and evaluating that the business meets criteria to be certified.  It is up to the safety officials of the company to ensure that the company continues to meet the standards set up by OSHA, by providing a safe atmosphere for its workers.  Facilities that have been inspected and certified are on OSHA’s records.  This includes construction and industrial sites. 

OSHA strongly intends to conduct on-site inspections for facilities that have a high rate of incidents, injuries and illnesses shown by recorded data.  Types of these establishments are nursing facilities, personal care facilities and manufacturing plants.  Construction is considered a high-risk choice of work, as well.  Inspections and investigations are done by OSHA compliance health and safety officers, who are professionally trained in the disciplines of safety and industrial hygiene.   (You may go to our parent company’s home page, Texas America Safety Company, www.tasco-safety.com, to read safety news reports of those companies who were guilty of various non-compliance issues, resulting in death and injury to workers.)

Inspections are always conducted without advance notice.  There are, however, special circumstances under which OSHA may give notice to the employer, but such a notice will normally be less than 24 hours. These circumstances include the following:

  •  Imminent danger situations that require correction as soon as possible;
  •  Accident investigations where the employer has notified the agency of a fatality or   catastrophe;
  •  Inspections that must take place after regular business hours or that require special preparation;
  •  Cases where notice is required to ensure that the employer and employee representative or other personnel will be present;
  •  Cases where an inspection must be delayed for more than 5 working days when there is good cause; and
  •  Situations in which the OSHA Area Director determines that advance notice would produce a more thorough or effective inspection. 

Employers who receive advance notice of an inspection must inform their employees’ representative or arrange for OSHA to do so.  If an employer refuses to admit an OSHA compliance officer or if an employer attempts to interfere with the inspection, the Act permits appropriate legal action, such as obtaining a warrant to inspect. 

How does a compliance officer prepare for the inspection?

A compliance officer represents the agency and is expected to demonstrate his or her knowledge and expertise in the safety and health field in a courteous and professional manner. Before the inspection, the compliance officer will become familiar with as many relevant facts as possible about the workplace, such as its inspection history, the nature of the business, and the particular standards that might apply. This preparation provides the compliance officer with a knowledge of the potential hazards and industrial processes that he or she may encounter and aids in selecting appropriatePPE safety supplies for use against these hazards during the inspection. 

The above information is from OSHA, so it might be a good time to get out that inspection checklist and make sure your workplace is in compliance. Hopes are you won’t find anything too dangerous, but it would be an excellent way to avoid a serious injury, lost time, and lost productivity, as well as legal repercussions.  Plus, the employees on the front line will probably sleep a little better at night, knowing you check safety issues out on a regular basis.