Prepare before OSHA comes knocking on your door

J.J. Keller & Associates
Tags: workplace safety

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA is authorized to conduct workplace inspections to determine if employers are complying with OSHA standards. Workplace inspections are performed by OSHA compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) who are trained in the OSHA standards and in the recognition of safety and health hazards.

Similarly, states with their own occupational safety and health programs conduct inspections using qualified state compliance safety and health officers.

Inspectionsfall into one of two categories depending on the scope of the inspection:

  • Comprehensive: A substantially complete inspection of the potentially high hazard areas of the establishment. An inspection may be deemed comprehensive even though, as a result of the exercise of professional judgment, not all potentially hazardous conditions, operations and practices within those areas are inspected.
  • Partial: An inspection whose focus is limited to certain potentially hazardous areas, operations, conditions or practices at the establishment. A partial inspection may be expanded based on information gathered by the CSHO during the inspection process. The CSHO shall use professional judgment to determine the necessity for expansion of the inspection scope, based on information gathered during records or program review and walk around inspection.

An inspection tour may cover part or all of an establishment, even if the inspection resulted from a specific complaint, fatality or catastrophe.

By the book
There are many misconceptions, and some groundless fears, about what an OSHA compliance officer can and cannot do. But you needn't be in the dark. OSHA has published the manual it provides to compliance officers to guide them during inspections.

The Field Operations Manual, or FOM, can be found in the Reference area of KellerOnline. It provides guidance to inspectors regarding general inspection procedures, from the opening conference to the closing conference, and special inspection procedures – those involving fatalities and imminent danger situations.

Also, OSHA has published the OSHA 3000, Employer Rights and Responsibilities Following an OSHA Inspection, which you will find within the OSHA inspection procedures topic.

You can also attend J.J. Keller & Associates upcoming complimentary Web cast, OSHA Inspections, on September 21 at 1 p.m. Central Time.

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