February 20, 2013
This article is a supplement to the article “When OSHA Comes Knocking” in February’s edition of Truck Parts & Service. You can find that here.
While you should always be prepared for a potential safety inspection at your facility, you can rest easy knowing they are rarely common occurrences.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), only 404 inspections were performed on light-, medium- and heavy-duty facilities from Oct. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2012. That’s an average of 135 per year, or one every 2.7 days. OSHA says there are more than 7 million automotive facilities operating in the United States, and the organization focuses “its inspection resources on the most hazardous workplaces.”
All OSHA inspections occur without warning, and OSHA says its inspection times vary depending on the size of the facility and number of possible citations.
OSHA provides a number of resources for service providers to prevent inspections. Its website provides literature for service providers to help avoid violations, and all OSHA area offices are equipped with “compliance assistance specialists who can help service facilities understand the OSHA standards that apply to them.” (To find a compliance specialist in your area, go to: http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/compliance_assistance/cas_directory_auto.html.)
OSHA also offers an on-site consultation program where consultants work with employers to identify hazards and provide information to on OSHA regulations and standards. OSHA says the consultation service is separate from its inspection service, meaning a citation found during a consultation does not result in a violation. (The consultation program is free for businesses with less than 500 employees, and can be found at http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html.)
By being smart about safety and taking advantage of the resources OSHA provides, you can operate a safe and successful inspection-free business for many years.