Preparing for an OSHA Inspection
By Kathleen Pohlid Founder & Managing Member, Pohlid, PLLC | December 09, 2012
In the past year, state and federal entities conducted over 500 inspections of hotel establishments within the United States for compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Many of those inspections were initiated by referrals from other governmental entities and from employee complaints. In some cases, establishments were issued citations for safety violations. Since employers are not provided prior notice of onsite OSHA inspections of their workplace, it is important to be prepared and to ensure establishments are in compliance with OSHA standards.
Hotel establishment employers are required under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to provide safe and healthful working conditions for their employees and to comply with applicable safety and health standards. In 2010, OSHA added over 100 employees to its existing compliance staff with the stated purpose of increasing inspections. Since an OSHA inspection can be triggered at any time and establishments are not given advance notice of an inspection, it is important to be prepared. Here are some measures to prepare for OSHA and enhance safety and health in your workplace:
Know the Standards that Apply
Employers are required to comply with the safety and health standards promulgated by OSHA which apply to their workplace. These standards are available via OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov/law-regs.html and include the general duty standards set forth at 29 C.F.R. 1910 and the recordkeeping and reporting standards at 29 C.F.R. 1904. (Employers with ten or fewer employees during the preceding calendar year may be partially exempt from some of the recordkeeping requirements.) The OSHA website www.osha.gov also contains valuable information for safety compliance and training programs. Establishments should conduct periodic workplace audits to identify standards that apply to their workplace and ensure they are in compliance with those standards.
Document and Implement Required Written Programs & Records
Some of the OSHA standards require employers to establish written safety programs or rules to address hazards or to maintain records relating to hazardous exposures. For example, 29 C.F.R. 1910.38(b) & 39(b) require employers with more than ten employees to have written emergency action and fire prevention plans and specifically set forth the contents that must be included within such plans.