Safety and OSHA News

Could OSHA use drones for safety inspections?

Drones can significantly speed up some types of OSHA inspections, according to a safety expert. That could increase the number of inspections the agency is able to do. 

Safety trainer/consultant and former OSHA staffer John Newquist has posted a video on YouTube of an experimental safety inspection using a drone.

Newquist used a Blade Chroma from Horizon Hobby for a mock OSHA visual safety inspection.

After the drone’s flight, Newquist says he took out the micro SD card and downloaded the mp4 file. What’s the potential violation? We’ll tell you below.

Other applications

Newquist notes that, as a consultant, this technology would also allow an industrial facility to send him a video of a plant to review for hazards.

Turns out that in the safety field, some experiments and applications using drones are already underway.

Safety One Training uses drones for tower climbing safety:

Budget airline easyJet has experimented with drones to inspect aircraft following incidents such as bird or lightning strikes:

Safety service company Total Safety uses drones to conduct flare stack inspections at industrial facilities:

The potential violation in Newquist’s video? The roofing flags are too close to the parapet, so the general contractor would be asked whether the parapet is 42 inches high.

How might you be able to use drone technology at your company? What would you think of OSHA using drones for safety inspections? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. I can see them potentially using drones, but the presentation of credentials would still need to take place before the inspection could begin.

    Presentation of credentials—The onsite inspection

    begins with the presentation of the compliance

    officer’s credentials, which include both a photograph

    and a serial number.

    I don’t think “sneak” inspections would be admissible.

  2. I was actually approached recently by a company inquiring if the facility I worked at would be open to them doing these Drone inspections. I researched the requirements, both federal and state, and I brought it to a meeting with our operations group managers and Site Manager. It was a short meeting and was pretty unanimous from management that the potential dangers of flying an commercial drone over our units outweighs any positive contribution they could have.
    I know there are other companies that use them for pipeline inspections, especially in remote areas, but I think that because it’s a new technology many people are going to be skeptical of the benefits.

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