OSHA Audits

Increased OSHA Fines

Increased OSHA fines are now active for all safety violations

OSHA has new enforcement and penalty policies that became effective August 1st, 2016. Due to these new policies, companies with more than 250 employees can expect increased scrutiny and fines. Companies with fewer than 250 employees can receive a fine reduction of 20% from the OSHA area director.

The new fine structure for incidents increased by 80%, this sets a new maximum fine of $124,709 for each citation. This max fine can be applied to every employee involved in a citation if OSHA deems the violation egregious, including willful and repeat violations. Violations can be classified as willful or repeat violations for up to 5 years, increased from the previous 3 years. The new fine amount for serious violations, which are not classified as willful or repeat violations, is $12,470.

OSHA has also instituted a new rating system for inspectors to use when classifying violations. The inspectors use a points system to rank violations, due to this system it is expected that the number of violations ranked as egregious will increase.

Preparing for an OSHA audit is extremely important for your organization. In advance of an audit, you should determine who the point of contact will be for the OSHO inspector, if there is any classified or sensitive information or processes at your facility, and policies for handling records release and employee interviews with the inspector.  Read more on OSHA Audits: Why and How to Prepare.

The most basic steps that companies can take to mitigate risk and prevent an OSHA inspection are regular inspections and maintaining detailed inspection reports. In order to create effective safety plans, you first need to be able to use reliable data to identify safety hazards. If an accident does occur, these records can demonstrate due diligence and proof of compliance to OSHA inspectors. Your records should include inspections, code references, and logs of actions taken to address deficiencies or hazards.

If you need help instituting an active safety management plan, read more here and speak to your Life Safety Partner.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Greg Lane

OSHA Audits: Why and How to Prepare

The leading causes of worker deaths (excluding highway collisions) in the construction industry are falls, electrocution, struck by object, and caught-in/between. These “Fatal Four” are responsibleSafety & Health Magazine OSHA Audits checklist for more than 60% of construction worker deaths in 2014.

Training employees, having an active safety management program, and taking safety precautions with your work site are all effective in decreasing injuries, illnesses and death. If an accident does occur, chances are you will be audited by OSHA to evaluate your safety methods and be penalized for anything that is out of compliance.

OSHA Inspectors can visit any worksite without warning. You need to be prepared to accommodate an inspection, including having someone selected and trained as the point of contact for the Inspector. This person should know where safety documents are located, and how to respond to any hazards that are pointed out during the walk-through as well as questions from the Inspector.

The best way to prepare for this possibility is to conduct an on-site audit of your facility to simulate an OSHA audit. Not only will this prepare your entire team and serve as training for the person selected to work with an OSHA Inspector, it is a good opportunity to identify and correct safety hazards that could occasion such an audit.

You should include general areas in your self-audit such as means of egress, medical and first aid supplies, fire protection equipment, all potential electrical hazards, material handling and storage, and powered platforms, man lifts, etc. In addition, you should review and asses any hazards particular to your company or industry. One benefit of having a partnering company perform your simulated OSHA audit is that they can walk you through the entire process – starting with the opening conference, reviewing documents, performing an actual site walk-through, and finishing with a review of the findings.

Your OSHA Inspector will take into account all the precautions you have in place to prevent accidents, including the extensiveness of your safety management program and employee training records. Being able to show OSHA that your company takes safety seriously, and works pro-actively to keep its employees safe, will only work in your favor.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Greg Lane