More than likely, you do what you can to protect your employees from the hazards of their jobs. Even so, you may not be able to completely eliminate the potential for injuries. Whether a current incident brings the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to your Ohio location or the agency scheduled an inspection, you may soon find yourself entertaining Compliance Safety and Health Officers from OSHA.
Even if you believe you keep your company in compliance with all relevant OSHA regulations and rules, the administration may not see it that way since they only conduct inspections when they believe violations exist. This may mean that someone filed a complaint that put you on OSHA’s radar, but not always.
How OSHA prioritizes inspections
Since the administration only employs a certain number of officers, it must prioritize its inspections. From least serious to most serious, below is the order of relevance:
- Low priority hazards may be handled with phone calls and other correspondence from OSHA. You have five days to respond, and if officers are satisfied, that’s the end of the matter.
- The agency conducts programmed or planned inspections in particular industries that experience a high volume of injuries and present high-hazards due to the work done.
- Follow up inspections occur when officers believe it necessary to check for abatement of previous citations and to make sure the company remains in compliance with all relevant rules and regulations.
- If other agencies, individuals, the media or companies refer yours to OSHA, an inspection may be scheduled.
- OSHA may schedule an inspection if an employee, who may remain anonymous, files a complaint with the agency.
- If an employee dies or three employees end up in the hospital due to an work-related incident, OSHA will come in to investigate. You must report these types of incidents within eight hours of the event.
- When the conditions become so hazardous that the chance of imminent death or serious injuries presents itself, OSHA will step in and require employees to immediately correct any issues found.
Whatever the reason, if OSHA contacts you and schedules an appointment to conduct an inspection, you may want to make preparations. Having all of your documentation in order and making sure workspaces comply with current OSHA rules and regulations could help make things go more smoothly. One other preparation you can make is to ensure you understand your rights and obligations in relation to complying with OSHA, along with what will happen during the inspection.