In 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted more than 32,000 federal inspections in workplaces around the country (source). Normally, these inspections are conducted without advance notice, so you want to be prepared at all times for a surprise visit. What’s more, you want to make sure you’re keeping your employees safe all the time because, honestly, no one ever wants accidents or injuries in their workplace.
You can use these easy safety culture audit tips today to analyze your workplace’s culture and start making it a safer place for your employees immediately.
1. Know what to expect from OSHA.
If you’re not sure where to start, it’s a good idea to read up on OSHA’s standards as well as their inspection procedures. Every employer should be aware of OSHA’s regulations as a bare minimum for workplace safety, but understanding how their inspections work can help to reduce the stress during a visit and to keep up on reducing and eliminating hazards every single day.
You can visit OSHA’s website to find free resources, and you can even request a free on-site consultation if you need some help getting started on cleaning up your workplace.
2. Keep records on employee safety training.
OSHA requires that you maintain records for all of your employee safety training, but these records can help you to improve your safety culture as well. You should be aware of the federal- and state-required training topics in addition to all other training that your workplace offers for employees. With these training completion records, you can verify that your employees are meeting regulations, and you can also get a good idea of how dedicated your team is to safety efforts that go above and beyond the minimum requirements.
3. Inspect the worksite regularly.
Create a goal for your company’s safety leadership to inspect the worksite on a regular basis so that you can identify and eliminate safety hazards in a timely manner. Some hazards may go unnoticed by employees and even supervisors during the busy workday, so it’s important to make an extra effort to verify that everything is in the best shape possible on a regular schedule. It’s much easier to keep up with site maintenance if hazards are being recognized and corrected promptly.
4. Get an outside opinion.
It’s far too easy to become accustomed to the things we see on a daily basis. In our own workplaces, we may not notice the present hazards simply because we’re so used to seeing them. Find an outside resource, someone who can give you a fresh perspective on the state of your workplace every now and then. You may be surprised at the problems you never realized you had. OSHA will come in on inspection day with this sort of fresh perspective, so getting a second opinion beforehand will be beneficial.
5. Run a mock inspection.
Now that you know what to expect from an OSHA inspection and you’ve been working on the identification and elimination of hazards around the workplace, you can put your site to the test by arranging a mock OSHA inspection. This will help everyone understand what they can expect on a real inspection day, and you might even find some more areas that you can improve (without getting fines!).
Using these 5 tips, you can prepare your workplace for one of those dreaded surprise inspections. More importantly, you can work on improving your company’s safety culture for good, which will reduce injuries and improve the environment you give your employees to work in. It’s a great idea to give yourself a safety culture audit on a regular basis to ensure that you’re meeting your long term safety culture goals and exceeding OSHA’s minimum standards every single day.