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How to Survive an OSHA Audit

Part one of a three part story by Paul Andersen OSHA Compliance Services

Hello. I’m from OSHA and I am here to conduct an inspection.

Few greetings are more inclined to cause one to cringe unless of course it’s one from the IRS.

Wineries and Growers are prime businesses for a formal visit from CAL/OSHA to determine whether they are complying with CAL/OSHA standards.

There are many specific regulations particular to the work performed by winery and growers employees as well as many general rules and regulations that must be adhered to..  Additionally, CAL/OSHA may conduct a “sweep” in our area verifying compliance with the Heat Injury Prevention Program requirements [§3395. Heat Illness Prevention].

As you may know, it is the responsibility of CAL/OSHA to enforce workplace safety regulations.  It is the responsibility of every employer to ensure their employees (this includes contractors and sub-contractors) have a “reasonably safe workplace”.  The following information is a summary of a visit from a CAL/OSHA Compliance Officer (CO).  For more information or assistance with your safety and compliance programs, contact us at: www.OSHAComplianceservices.com.

What triggers an OSHA Audit?

If you like to play the odds, you can take comfort knowing there are numerous businesses and workplaces that never see an OSHA Inspector. Generally, OSHA will only conduct a visit to your business for one or more of the following reasons:

  • A fatality or serious injury / Illness (cause for about a quarter of all inspections annually).
  • An employee complaint (cause for about a quarter of all inspections annually).
  • A report of imminent injury or OSHA inspector observation, which can occur when a hazard is in plain sight (also known as a “drive by” or “clear view” situation).
  • A follow-up from a previous inspection or citation (follow-up is usually “to determine whether there has been abatement of a hazardous condition”).
  • Being an employer in a hazardous industry or being a hazardous employer (meaning an employer with an experience modification of over 125).
  • Special enforcement “sweeps” (heat Injury, fall protection – working at heights , trenching-excavations operations).
  • Labor law enforcement “sweeps” in which industries may be targeted jointly by other labor law enforcement groups, such as immigration.

Be prepared

Keep in mind that OSHA inspections are generally without notice, so being prepared is the key to success. The first thing you need to know is that you have the right to have a “Company Representative” serve as the company contact and escort the OSHA CO throughout the entire visit.  The company representative can be anyone you choose to select.  Our advice is to have a preselected and trained “Company Representative” to meet the OSHA CO and stay with them throughout the Inspection.  Ensure the company representative and several other preselected employees know where all information is kept and they are trained and able to explain your safety policies, procedures and recordkeeping.

The following documentation and information should be readily available in anticipation of an impending audit:

  • Injury Illness Prevention Program (IIPP)
  • Safety Manual (Policies and Procedures)
  • Hazard assessment and abatement records (site Inspections)
  • Documented training records
  • Equipment inspection records
  • Recordkeeping (OSHA 300 logs)
  • Review of previous audits and citations and correction actions (if appropriate).
  • Third-party audits (if appropriate)

In addition to the routine required safety programs, there are many documents and recordkeeping requirements and OSHA rules that may apply to your business. These documents are generally referred to as OSHA-implied records and it is the responsibility of the employer to “know” and maintain all required recordkeeping as well as all proposed recordkeeping outlined in your company safety manual.  For example, a condition of the forklift rules requires a pre-inspection report to be documented, but there is no official OSHA Forklift Inspection Form.  The expectation is the Employer will comply with this requirement by creating a form or provide other means of documentation.  Most Company Safety Manuals outline these type items and issues.

Part two of a three part story to be continued Friday on the Wine Industry Advisor.

OSHA Compliance ServicesExpert Editorial
by Paul Andersen, OSHA Compliance Services LLC (OCS)

OSHA Compliance Services LLC (OCS) is a safety and compliance consulting and training firm located in Napa, CA. We provide a wide range of safety and compliance services to a growers and wineries and related industries. Our safety professionals will assist you with safety and compliance solutions unique to growers, wineries and service providers. Paul Andersen is a Senior Safety Advisor for OSHA Compliance Services and is a subject matter expert in OSHA rules and regulations. Visit us at www.OSHAcomplianceservices.com.

1 Comment on "How to Survive an OSHA Audit"

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  1. Larry Tucker says:

    Wow. Great story Lots of information.

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