Construction Safety Tips: How to Prepare for an OSHA Inspection
As construction continues to flourish throughout the states, there needs to be proper safety measures and processes in place to support our workforce. Construction can be a very dangerous field to work in as all are aware and if standards are not upheld for workplace safety, then we are all doing ourselves a disservice. Every employer should strive to maintain a good OSHA record.
There are approximately 2400-3000 estimated OSHA inspectors. Unfortunately, OSHA inspectors cannot be at every construction site, but when they do arrive, contractors need to be ready at all times. To give context, there were approximately 24,333 recorded OSHA inspections as of 2021. If contractors fail inspections, they run the risk of serious violations, fines, injuries and other issues that follow a domino effect. OSHA fines are heavy and very serious. In early 2023, the US DOB announced OSHA’s maximum penalties for serious violations will increase from $14,502 per violation, to $15,625 per violation.
OSHA violation types:
- Serious violations: violations that result from death or serious injury.
- Willful violation: violations deemed intentional and show plain indifference to safety regulations of workers.
- Other-than-serious violations: Violations that are not serious but result in smaller injuries.
- De minimis violations: Violations that are considered trivial and really small.
Common reasons OSHA inspectors select a company to inspect:
- Imminent danger
- Fatal or catastrophic accidents
- Program inspections
- Follow-up inspections
- Employee complaints
- Special programs
- Fall Protection-General Requirements
- Hazard Communications
- Respiratory Protection
- Powered Industrial Trucks
- Fall Protection-Training Requirements
- Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment-Eye and Face Protection
- Machine Guarding
General tasks before the OSHA inspector arrives:
- Select a company representative (supervisor, superintendent, project managers, or owner)
- Establish the responsibilities of the representative for the company.
- Prepare for significant investigations.
- Prepare to manage the opening and closing conference.
- Make sure to have records readily available.
- You will oversee the walk with the OSHA inspector.
- Prepare for employee interviews or potential screenings.
General process when an OSHA inspector arrives:
- Notify responsible personnel on-site
- Request compliance officers information like ID, badge number, etc.
- Compliance officer will state their purpose generally at the beginning of the visit
- A manager should escort the compliance officer and take notes throughout the visit.
- During the walk, the compliance officer will take notes, photographs, and will always comply with the safety requirements.
- Employees may be interviewed or screened
- Near the end of the visit, the compliance officer will review the visit and state if there are any standard OSHA fines.
- A follow-up process will be provided at the end of the statement if there are any fines.
Communicating with OSHA inspectors:
- Be honest
- Do not evade questions
- Be cooperative
- Takes notes
- Do not be sarcastic or argumentative
- Do not volunteer admission of guilt
- Try to fix violations immediately, if possible
- OSHA inspection guide
- OSHA inspections facts sheet
- OSHA safety inspector qualifications
Using a digital platform to support compliance document management
As we continue to work toward the future, technology will be incorporated in many ways. One way many contractors are staying compliant is by using a workforce management and safety platform like Kwant. By using a centralized platform, many contractors are able to pull up information on the fly and have documents ready to submit for follow-up.
Benefits of workforce platform for compliance:
- Centralizes documents, certifications, and licenses
- Gain instant alerts and notifications on certification expirations
- Provides readily accessible documents for compliance
- Removes manual paperwork
- Allows for automated scheduling & forecasting
- Improves efficiency across departments
- Allows for daily workforce insights & reporting
Request a free demo today and see how easy it is to get started with a centralized platform to stay compliant with OSHA and other requirements.