Did you know that OSHA personnel can visit your business or job site without any event or complaint? OSHA’s National Emphasis Programs (NEPs) exist to recognize and mitigate specific hazards and high hazard industries. If your business falls within an NEP, you could be next in line for a surprise visit. There is no phone call, email or letter informing you of this visit, a compliance officer will just show up at your business or job site.
Imagine starting your day by finding out that OSHA is on site. Are you prepared for that type of disruption? Being prepared for an NEP means knowing your rights and portraying your company in a positive light so that you can minimize civil penalties and business interruption.
There are three main components to an OSHA visit: an opening conference, a walk around the business or site, and a closing conference. Understanding this format will help you start things off right with the compliance officer. There are a few crucial things to remember, but first: slow down and take a deep breath. After that, use the opening conference to establish some ground rules with the OSHA personnel such as introducing them to the designated, prepared company escort for the walk around, and attempting to understand the purpose for their visit. Understanding why OSHA is there will help you decide which route you will take to make the walk around. Be sure to prepare your employees for employee interviews. All of the documentation in the world will do little to help if the compliance officer does not feel your employees are well trained.
An OSHA visit seems scary, but being prepared can help even the playing field and alleviate a little stress. Stay tuned for future posts about further details around this topic.
Ryan Burns is a Commercial Account Executive with Baer Insurance Services. He specializes in construction and manufacturing. Ryan is a former contractor who takes pride in truly understanding his clients industry.
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