Best Practices, human resources, Industry News, News, Safety and Compliance

An OSHA Inspection Update – The Walkaround Rule

On December 29, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and formally established the OSHA agency. Since, OSHA has made an update to their inspection processes. (OSHA)

Now, a business can have a designated person present during an OSHA inspection, also referred to as a walk- around.

OSHA official ruling
OSHA concluded that these clarifications aid OSHA’s workplace inspections by better enabling employees to select representative(s) of their choice to accompany the Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) during a physical workplace inspection. Employee representation during the inspection is critically important to ensuring OSHA obtains the necessary information about worksite conditions and hazards. (Federal Register)

When does an inspection occur?
According to OSHA, an OSHA visit is triggered when there has been an accident or complaint filed. The time in which they respond is dependent on the severity of the report. The intention of this ruling is to allow more thorough inspections to occur when someone specialized to the business can be present, resulting in a more accurate response to a reported problem.

How to be prepared?
An OSHA inspection could happen at any time and so it’s recommended to always be ready. HSI, a company that offers training, safety management and compliance solutions to businesses, has some helpful tips to do just that:

  • Establish a safety culture: Prepare for an OSHA visit as if it could happen at any time.
  • Know what to expect: When an OSHA inspector arrives, they should show you their credentials.
  • Review OSHA guidelines: Workers may forget or neglect safety requirements without frequent reminders. Toolbox talks can reinforce proper procedures.
  • Go beyond OSHA standards: Document the policies that exceed OSHA standards and ensure they are implemented effectively.
  • Keep clear and organized documentation: Maintain relevant documentation in an easy-to-access location. Share this location with your employees.
  • Document everything: Keep records of any hazards identified and corrective actions taken, as well as any citations or penalties issued by OSHA.

Now that a person can be present during an inspection, identifying who that should be ahead of time would add another layer of OSHA inspection readiness for your business.

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