6 Ways to Make Sure You’re Prepared for a Surprise OSHA Inspection

Some surprises are fun, like a birthday party you didn’t expect. Others, less so, like an unannounced OSHA inspection. If you find yourself shaking hands with an OSHA inspector you didn’t know was coming, don’t panic. It may be unexpected, but it’s not the end of the world. In fact, if you take safety planning seriously and have preventative measures in place, an OSHA inspection can be quick and painless. It may not be the best surprise, but it’s one you should be ready for.

The key to weathering a surprise OSHA inspection is to create processes that ensure you’re always ready for one. Here are six tips for integrating OSHA inspection readiness into your everyday factory operations:

  1. Keep good records. One of the first things an OSHA inspector will do is check records. This includes certifications and training documentation for various employees, as well as formalized safety policies and reporting documents. Make sure you have a system in place to properly document and archive these records, and make them easy to identify. Good records set the tone for a workplace that’s serious about OSHA compliance.
  2. Assign responsibilities. Ensuring OSHA compliance across facilities is the job of a team, not any single person. Delegate compliance responsibilities to specific people and hold them accountable. This way, when an inspector arrives out of the blue, you’ll know exactly who’s responsible for what.
  3. Mirror the inspector. Despite being a sometimes-unpleasant surprise, an OSHA inspection is valuable. Use it as an opportunity to thoroughly evaluate your facilities. Keep pace with the inspector and document things they say, as well as things you notice outside of the scope of inspection. Not only will you have a record for what to address post-inspection, you’ll show the auditor you’re invested in the inspection process and the safety of your facilities.
  4. Audit internally. The best way to prepare for an unexpected audit is to stay on your toes. Conduct internal audits in periodic intervals to ensure compliance. This includes delegating responsibilities and holding different team members to OSHA standards. When a true inspection finally arrives, it’ll simply be another walkthrough for you and your team.
  5. Train managers. OSHA inspections are particularly scrutinizing of management. Make sure department leads, foremen, and individuals in a position of oversight are aware of hazards in their workplace and how to mitigate them to avoid injury. These individuals should also have documented training records. To prep for a surprise audit, perform monthly or quarterly walkthroughs with managers, conducting mini audits.
  6. Enroll in Voluntary Protection Program. The best way to get ahead of a surprise OSHA inspection is to volunteer for one! OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program invites inspectors to your facilities for an informal audit. Their findings aren’t held against you and in many cases, inspectors can help recommend ways to improve safety. It’s a smart way to address potential problems before they’re subject to formal inspections.

It doesn’t matter if you’re due (or overdue) for an OSHA inspection ― you should always be ready for one. Follow these tips and you won’t be caught off guard when an inspector arrives for a surprise visit.

Getting ready for an upcoming OSHA inspection? Now’s a good time to get your factory in tip-top working condition. If you need help, you can always count on the professionals at Global Electronic Services. Contact us for all your industrial electronic, servo motor, AC and DC motor, hydraulic, and pneumatic needs — and don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook!
Call for Help