With more than 8 million employers and 130 million workers in its jurisdiction, the odds of your business getting a surprise OSHA inspection are likely pretty low.
That’s because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) relies on a team of only about 2,000 inspectors to visit worksites and ensure employers are complying with applicable rules and regulations.
To give you an idea, in 2014 OSHA inspectors conducted 36, 163 federal inspections and 47, 217 State Plan inspections. That’s a total of about 83,000 inspections out of the several million workplaces the agency covers.
In order to focus its limited resources on the most hazardous worksites, the agency has established six main inspection priorities to prompt an OSHA investigation:
But even though the odds of any given worksite that doesn’t fall into one of these categories being inspected are pretty low, employers should have a plan in place in case OSHA ever does pay them a visit.
The majority of inspections are conducted without advanced warning, which means preparing for an inspection is not an overnight process. In reality, the best way to prepare for an OSHA investigation is to limit the likelihood of an investigation occurring. (A “the best offense is a good defense” approach.) That means implementing a proactive safety program designed to identify and prevent on-the-job accidents.
There are three main components of an OSHA inspection:
If, at the end of the closing conference, the OSHA inspection report identifies any hazards or violations, employers should make correcting the problems quickly a main priority, even if formal citations have not yet been filed.
While the odds of your organization getting a surprise OSHA inspection may be relatively low, workplace safety should still be at the top of every employer’s priority list. Creating a culture of workplace safety standards not only minimizes the risk of on-the-job accidents, but also helps ensures your employees remain happy, healthy and productive.