Take the Pain out of OSHA Inspections with Our New Inspection Prep Checklist
VelocityEHS, the global leader in cloud-based environment, health, safety (EHS) and sustainability solutions has launched a new OSHA Inspection Preparation Checklist to help employers stay in compliance and minimize their liability in the event of OSHA inspections.
The new checklist features a detailed list of the policies, procedures and personnel that employers should have in place prior to inspection, along with a step-by-step breakdown of OSHA’s formal inspection process to help employers anticipate and proactively manage any OSHA inspection they are subject to.
OSHA Enforcement Trends
Despite budget reductions in recent years, OSHA appears to be ramping up enforcement efforts for 2019 and beyond. The agency’s FY 2019 Budget Justification includes a $6.2 million increase to its federal enforcement budget, as well as plans to hire on an additional 42 enforcement personnel for the coming year.
OSHA has expressed the goal of performing 30,840 workplace inspections in 2019, slightly down from the 32,396 conducted in 2017. (2018 OSHA enforcement data was not available at this time). Despite a decrease in the overall number of inspections, the percentage of inspections that resulted in a citation has actually increased. For example, in 2016, 74% of inspections uncovered at least one violation, while the rate for 2015 was 69%. This unexpected shift is largely due to OSHA’s recently-revised enforcement policies which no longer emphasize the mere number of inspections performed, but rather incentivize inspectors to perform fewer, more intensive inspections.
New and Changing Requirements
In addition to existing employer requirements, 2018 and 2019 will see a number of updates to several OSHA standards, including:
- June 23, 2018 — deadline for employers in the maritime, hydraulic fracturing and general industries to comply with provisions of OSHA’s new Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard
- July 1, 2018 — deadline for electronic submission of RY 2017 occupational injury and illness data under OSHA’s recent Electronic Reporting Rule
- July 4, 2018 — deadline for general industry employers to comply with OSHA’s revised Beryllium Standard
Looking forward, OSHA’s FY 2019 Budget Justification also lists revisions to its Hazard Communication (HazCom), Lockout/Tagout, Crane Operator Qualification and Emergency Response and Preparedness Standards as potential agency actions for the coming year.
The agency is also continually revising its National and Regional Emphasis Programs in response to trends in occupational injuries and illnesses, in order to more effectively target and prioritize enforcement of certain regulatory standards in high-risk industries. If your workplace is affected by one of OSHA’s Local and National Emphasis Programs, you have a significantly greater likelihood of receiving a visit from an OSHA inspector.
Making things even more urgent is the fact that OSHA has increased its 2018 fines across all categories of violations under the authority of the 2015 Inflation Adjustment Act.
- For violations categorized as either serious or other-than-serious, and for violations of OSHA’s injury and illness summary (form 300A) posting requirements, the agency is increasing the maximum penalty to $12,934.
- Penalties for failure to abate outstanding violations increase to $12,934 per violation, per day that the employer fails to abate.
- Penalties for violations that are deemed willful or repeated will increase to $123,336 per violation.
The 2015 Inflation Adjustment Act requires OSHA to re-evaluate penalty limits on an annual basis to compensate for increases in inflation and Consumer Pricing Index (CPI). Though OSHA will continue to assess penalties with consideration for employer size, number of employees and past history of violations, these penalties could be financially devastating to employers — particularly for small and medium-size enterprises.
For all of these reasons and more, it’s absolutely critical that employers make sure that they’re prepared in the event that an OSHA inspector enters the workplace.
VelocityEHS Can Help!
Download our OSHA Inspection Preparation Checklist today, and be sure to check out the VelocityEHS platform’s comprehensive suite of cloud-based EHS and sustainability management software solutions, including our award-winning MSDSonline HQ and HQ RegXR Chemical Management accounts. We can help you simplify and streamline a wide range of compliance tasks including OSHA injury and illness reporting, workplace inspections, SDS and chemical inventory management, workplace training and much more.
To learn how VelocityEHS can help you stay in compliance, visit our website at www.EHS.com or give us a call at 1.866.919.7922.