The Occupational Health & Safety Administration is constantly running inspections and the call can come at anytime. Some companies will never have an inspection but there are certain workplaces because of equipment, location, or other reasons that will always be on OSHA's radar.
An inspection can be a frustrating and stressful even for employers largely because of the uncertainty that it brings. Here are a few tips to help you calm your nerves and prepare for an upcoming inspection
- First Impressions -- Some inspections can be over in a matter of hours depending on whether or not the compliance officer believes your worksite is safe. In a situation where they don't believe it to be safe, an inspection can last days with more OSHA officials being brought to the scene. You can avoid this by providing an employee to guide the compliance officer and clearly explain why your facility is safe. Ideally this person will be a good communicator and very well versed in the company's practices.
- Manage the Pressure -- It's a harsh reality that OSHA compliance officers are on the scene to issue citations and bring your workplace up to code. To help relieve any pressure it is best to focus on the strengths of your safety programs. No work site is going to be perfect but you can come out of an inspection unscathed if you provide positive talking points.
- Be Polite, But Defend Your Practices -- This step is much easier to follow if you actually believe in the safety programs you have put in place. While there are certain regulations that need to followed to the letter, often times safety is achieved through different methods because of the variables that can come up in a workplace. Make sure you can clearly show how safety is being regulated and how it is up to OSHA standards.
- Be Prepared -- "Preparation is the key to success" said Alexander Bell. By having well trained employees before an inspection comes is the best practice. Everyone should know what is expected of every person in the company. The less prepared for an inspection you are, the more you have to fear. Being prepared will reduce stress and build your confidence.