It’s probably ‘safe’ to say that safety is a top priority for manufacturers. Most companies try to be proactive in providing a safe environment for their employees. They also take similar measures with their customers and other visitors. According to Todd Sturgeon, of Sturgeon Consulting, there are a wide variety of events that could trigger an OSHA inspection at your business, even if you think you have a good safety plan in place . “Being familiar with the reasons for an inspection and how OSHA prioritizes visits, can help you become better prepared,” says Sturgeon. Here are some of the events that Sturgeon says has triggered OSHA inspections for companies in the region:
Imminent danger situations – hazards at your facility that could cause death or serious injury. If an inspector views potential issues driving past your location, or receives a tip of imminent danger, then expect a visit.
Severe injuries or illnesses – employers now have to report not only fatalities within 8 hours, but serious injuries within 24 hours to OSHA. Injuries requiring reporting are inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, or eye loss. This reporting will trigger the submission of a rapid response report to OSHA or a site visit.
Employee complaints – concerned or disgruntled employees can contact OSHA at any time. The results will be a site visit or formal written correspondence on the complaint.
Referrals – a site visit referral can come from other federal, state, or local agencies. A referral visit can also be generated from unwanted media attention over a situation.
Targeted Inspections – OSHA has national and regional emphasis programs that drive inspections. High injury rates can also result in targeted visits. Remember that organizations with 20 or more employees must now upload their OSHA 300 log summary info into the Injury Tracking Application each year.
Follow-up Inspections – a visit to confirm that abatement action is in place from a previous citation.
“You can greatly influence the results of an OSHA inspection,” Sturgeon said. “Make sure you have the required written programs in place, employee training, recordkeeping, hazard identification, and corrective action.”
Todd Sturgeon has worked in manufacturing (controlling injuries and overhead expenses) for over 25 years. His firm has helped hundreds of facilities prepare for, and successfully navigate through, regulatory compliance inspections.
Side Note: An OSHA Compliance & Injury Prevention training will be held on January 29 in Erie facilitated by Todd Sturgeon. Sessions are also scheduled in St. Marys (Feb 19) and Titusville (March 7). See www.nwirc.org/events for more details.