How to Prepare for a Surprise OSHA Inspection

Preparing for an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection is one thing, but preparing for a surprise OSHA inspection is another. Even if you’re sure that your workplace complies with all rules and regulations, it can be a stressful experience.

As you know, OSHA is allowed to show up and inspect your workplace at any time—they don’t have to notify you in advance—therefore, it’s crucial that you treat every day like it’s the day of a surprise OSHA inspection. When it finally does happen, you’ll be prepared.

How to be prepared for a surprise inspection

Here’s a closer look at what you can do to ensure your facility is ready in the event the regulators pop in for a visit:

  • Conduct internal audits on a regular basis: As an employer, you should regularly conduct internal audits. This will help you determine that your records are up to date, that all safety and hazard training has been accounted for and that you’re ready to present records when needed. It’s also smart to walk around the facility and look for violations on at least a weekly basis. You may want to assign an employee to this task.
  • Know your rights: OSHA inspectors are not entitled to talk to employees or record their conversations. Your employees should understand that, while it’s best to answer questions honestly, they’re not under any obligation to talk to the inspector. Even if they choose to talk to the inspector, they don’t have to sign a witness statement. Encourage anyone who does sign a witness statement to read through the entire thing before signing. If English isn’t their first language, they’re entitled to have the statement written in their native language before signing.
  • Assign someone to handle OSHA inspectors: You should assign one or two employees to meet with inspectors when they come to call. These employees should be aware of where the records are kept and where your company policies are located. During the inspection, they should follow the inspector with a pen, notepad, digital camera or phone. If a photo needs identification, write it on the notepad; use a tape measure to prove measurements.
  • Perform the appropriate hazard assessments and safety trainings: Of course, part of your duty as an employer is to train your employees appropriately and maintain a safe workspace. You may also want to display a poster that denotes employee rights when it comes to OSHA—including the fact that they need to understand the hazards involved with their job.
  • Keep records up to date: Finally, make sure that you keep good records for all of your employees, audits, third-party audits and more. If someone has identified a safety hazard, have the documentation that proves you addressed the issue. Above all, make sure that these records are up to date, easy to access and available to your designated employees.

With a little preparation, your workplace and employees will be prepared for a surprise OSHA inspection. Need help determining whether your hoists are OSHA compliant? The team at Zo-Air Co. Inc. is happy to keep your worksite safe. Call us today to set up an appointment.

Zo Air Logo