Haven’t been inspected by OSHA, or, at least not recently?
Here are the top-10 dos and don’ts during OSHA inspections, according to two inspectors:
- Don’t make me wait. It just tells me you’re not ready. Nothing you can do at the last minute is going to make much difference anyway.
- It’s best to be open with me.
- Don’t try to block my line of site by bringing a bunch of employees along on the walk-through. I’ll wait until I get to see what I want to see. Some of us use digital cameras. Some of us even videotape the inspection.
- Be prepared to answer questions. Have all required OSHA documents, including those outlining safety plans, ready for me.
- Don’t discourage employees from talking to me. I’ll talk to them one way or another. I find ways to slip employees my business card, and once I do, they usually call. If necessary, I’ll get a subpoena to talk to your employees.
- Don’t lie to me. That makes me angry.
- Think about hazards, not just standards, when you evaluate your workplace for safety. I look for hazards, not standard violations.
- Have your training documents in order. I do look at them. If you have Hispanic employees, make sure you have documentation that they understood your safety training.
- Plan ahead and designate a person or people who will meet with me. Make sure the person is prepared. It doesn’t matter to me whether you have a full-time safety manager or not. That doesn’t make me any tougher or easier on a company.
- Check out OSHA’s Field Operations Manual for inspectors. Even though it’s written for inspectors, it’s available to anyone for free on the OSHA website (you can download a PDF here). It’s a great resource to prepare any company for the possibility of an OSHA inspection.
(Two OSHA inspectors provided these tips at the American Society of Safety Engineers’ 2010 annual conference.)