Ready for an OSHA Inspection? Tips to Avoid Violations and Fines

By Michael Benedict on April 3, 2017

Ready for an OSHA InspectionOwners of small- and medium-sized business find the prospect of having an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection scary, especially since the agency is now inspecting businesses from bakeries and liquor stores, to construction companies, tire stores, and performing arts companies.

OSHA doesn’t warn you before they send an inspector, so being prepared is the best way to stay clear of citations and fines — especially since fines increased almost 80% over the past year.

Here’s what to expect and how to prepare your company and staff for an inspection:

Know OSHA’s most-cited hazards — OSHA puts out an annual list of its top 10 most-frequently cited standards. Review it – and think of the areas you should focus on during your internal preparations as they apply to your industry.  

Develop safety checklists — OSHA puts out a checklist to help you prepare, but consider it a guide. Inspectors routinely develop their own policies via a “General Duty” clause, and will cite your company for violations of regulations that aren’t written down.  Create your own safety inspection checklists specific to your business.

Put an OSHA inspection plan in place — Put a plan in place so that your employees know their roles and responsibilities on inspection day. Assign an inspection team and prepare them in advance with mock questions, and even surprise inspections.

Know what to do on inspection day — OSHA inspections are rarely announced in advance. Knowing what to do when the OSHA inspector actually arrives makes everything run more smoothly. Only offer the inspector documents that he or she specifically asks for, and if you can immediately correct something cited, you should do so.    

No matter how well you prepare, OSHA might find something that you need to correct. But with the right preparation, you’ll be less likely to be cited for serious violations that bring large fines. Most importantly, you’ll have a strong system in place to keep your employees safe and free from workplace hazards.

Want more details on prepping your organization for the OSHA inspector? Download our new interactive eBook, 4 Steps to Prepare for OSHA Safety Inspections.

What’s in the interactive eBook?

  • OSHA’s inspection priorities and a full list of most-cited hazards.
  • Quizzes and facts on OSHA standards, inspection policies, and fines.
  • Tips on how to develop safety checklists unique to your business.
  • Facts on how to use mobile apps to create checklists to help with inspections.
  • Notes on what your staff should do on inspection day — and after. 

How to Prepare for OSHA Safety Inspections

How to Prepare for OSHA Safety Inspections