Environmental/Safety Management: Dissecting an OSHA Inspection

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Courtesy of Verisk 3E

Understanding OSHA inspections can help utilities prepare, preventing fines and penalties associated with non-compliance.

While catastrophes and fatal accidents are obvious inspection triggers, almost half of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Admini- stration) visitations are complaint-driven. Therefore, the best way to avoid an inspection—and potential fines and penalties—is to eliminate complaints by employing preventive measures, including: • Participate in an OSHA voluntary compliance program. • Ensure that potentially serious or willful regulatory violations are identified and aggressively eliminated. Regular safety and compliance inspections by knowledgeable personnel provide a mechanism for hazard identification and demonstrate a company's commitment to safety. Employee involvement in inspections, safety committees and safety program development can enhance effectiveness exponentially and provide viable internal alternatives to employee complaints to OSHA. • Provide proper training and implement an effective safety program. If limited resources and staff are available to focus on this area, consider outsourcing some aspects of compliance and enable utility safety professionals to focus on providing a safer working environment. Outsourcing partners can provide training, MSDS obtainment, chemical inventory management and classification, compliance reporting, emergency response to spills, poisonings and exposures and even transportation services.

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