[caption id="" align="alignright" width="120"] Valerie Butera[/caption]
In a recently updated directive to Regional Administrators and State Plan Designees from Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, the categories of small businesses exempt from programmed health and safety inspections changed.
This exemption applies to workplaces with 10 or fewer workers who perform work in industries OSHA deems low hazard. OSHA identifies low hazard industries by studying the most recent results of mandatory surveys sent to employers in countless industries by the ...
In one of the news stories on Employment Law This Week - Epstein Becker Green's new video program - EBG attorney George Whipple details OSHA’s recently increased focus on the health care and nursing care industries. The agency’s fines have historically been very low, but recently OSHA cited medical patient transportation company LifeFleet for several violations totaling more than $235,000. See below to view the episode or read more about how to stay compliant and avoid heavy fines.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently intensified its scrutiny of the health care and nursing care industries. On June 25, 2015, the agency announced a new enforcement initiative targeting inpatient health care and nursing care facilities. But this increased scrutiny of the health care and nursing care industries does not end there—OSHA is spreading its enforcement reach to other types of health care entities.
Recently, OSHA cited LifeFleet LLC, an Ohio medical patient transportation company, for training shortfalls and bloodborne ...
Join Eric J. Conn and Amanda Strainis-Walker, attorneys from Epstein Becker & Green's national OSHA Practice Group, for two in-person OSHA briefings on Tuesday, September 24th in Philadelphia, PA and Wednesday, September 25th in Pittsburgh, PA.
The presentations will focus on why it's important to and how best to prepare for and manage OSHA inspections. Here is the invitation:
To register for the 9/24 Philadelphia Briefing, click here.
To register for the 9/25 Pittsburgh Briefing, click here.
If you have questions about these events, please contact Eric J. Conn, Head of the ...
In March of last year, we answered five frequently asked questions related to OSHA inspections. After receiving much positive feedback about that post and a few new OSHA inspection-related questions, we decided to launch a regular series on the OSHA Law Update blog with posts dedicated to OSHA Frequently Asked Questions. For each post in this OSHA FAQ Series, we include both a text response and a video/webinar with slides and audio.
Back in March, we answered five frequently asked questions related to OSHA inspections. We received so much positive feedback from that post, and so many requests to address additional OSHA questions that we decided to launch a monthly series here on the OSHA Law Update blog with posts dedicated to your OSHA Frequently Asked Questions. For each of the posts in this OSHA FAQ Series, we have included both a text response and a video/webinar response with slides and audio.
In this post, OSHA FAQ #4, we address a question regarding establishing an OSHA Inspection Team, including what roles should be designated and how to prepare the team for an unexpected visit from OSHA.
QUESTION: To best prepare for an unannounced OSHA Inspection, my Company is assembling an “Inspection Team” to be ready to manage a visit from OSHA. What are the different roles that we should include on the Team, and what are the responsibilities for which we should train the various team members?
OSHA conducts approximately 95% of its “Discovery” during the inspection phase (not the subsequent Contest stage), and uses the Discovery it obtains during inspections to determine whether violations are present and can be supported in potential citations. Accordingly, it is critical for employers to be prepared to manage the flow of information to OSHA during an inspection.
Accordingly, one of the most important steps every employer should take to prepare for an OSHA Inspection, and to ensure the inspection process goes smoothly once an OSHA compliance safety and health officer (CSHO) does arrive, is to designate certain personnel to fill specific roles on an Inspection Team. This will help you respond quickly when OSHA starts an inspection, have better controls in place to manage the flow of information during the inspection, such as better:
- Control over the entire scope of the inspection;
- Organization and care in the document production process;
- Preparation and representation of employees and managers during inspection interviews;
- Ability to capture duplicate evidence; i.e., side-by-side photographs, samples, and other physical evidence, and a complete copy set of documents produced to OSHA; and
- Control over what parts of your facility the CSHO observes during his walkaround inspection.
To accomplish these goals, we recommend that you assign, in advance of any inspection, the following Inspection Team roles, and train the assigned team members in all of the related employers’, employees’, and OSHA’s rights, as well as inspection strategies, related to their assigned roles on the Inspection Team:
1. Principal Spokesperson.
- The spokesperson is the team leader and point person for OSHA during the inspection.
- It is the Principal Spokesperson to manage the overall inspection, from communicating decisions to OSHA about consenting to the inspection or demanding a warrant, to negotiating the scope of the inspection, and laying the ground rules for document production and interviews.
- This role is generally covered by your outside OSHA counsel, Corporate Safety Director, or another Senior Management representative. The inspection should not be permitted to begin until the Principal Spokesperson is on-site (see our earlier post regarding delaying the start of an OSHA inspection to await your inspection representative).
2. Document Coordinator.
- Managing the document production during the inspection is perhaps the most important role.
- The Document Coordinator should manage the entire document production process, including: (a) being designated as the sole authorized person to accept a document request (always in writing) from OSHA; (b) coordinating with company and third party representatives to gather responsive documents; (c) reviewing documents for responsiveness, and to determine whether they contain privileged or business confidential information; (d) processing the documents with Bates and Business Confidential labels; (e) preparing duplicate copies for the Company to keep; (f) producing the documents to OSHA; and (g) tracking the status of all document requests on a Document Control Log.
Got OSHA-Related Questions? We Have the Answers!
Coming soon to the OSHA Law Update blog is a regular series of “OSHA Inspection Frequently Asked Questions” posts. This series is in direct response to the many inquiries we received from our popular post last year entitled: Managing an OSHA Inspection: Answers to 5 Frequently Asked Questions.
The OSHA Inspection FAQ series will address inspection issues from the procedural to the substantive legal and strategic. We will also look to our readers to send in questions that we can tee-up for responses. Watch for the inaugural ...
By Eric J. Conn, Head of the OSHA Practice Group
We recently authored an article for Feed & Grain magazine entitled "When OSHA Comes Knockin'." The article explains why employers in the grain industry need to be prepared for an OSHA inspection, and outlines steps they should take to prepare for and manage a visit from an OSHA inspector.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
As Alexander Graham Bell famously said, "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success." No truer words could be said to employers in the grain industry today about OSHA inspections. Secretary of Labor, Hilda ...
Join us Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 9:00 am Eastern either by Webinar or in person for a complimentary briefing presented by Epstein Becker Green attorneys Eric J. Conn and Amanda R. Strainis-Walker of the Firm’s national OSHA Practice Group.
The briefing will cover actions that employers should take now to prepare their workplaces and workforce for unexpected visits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), review employers’ and employees’ rights during an OSHA inspection, and discuss inspection strategies to ensure the best possible outcome from ...
By Eric J. Conn
Below is a set of important questions that we are frequently asked by clients when OSHA unexpectedly shows up at their doorsteps. These questions and many more are also addressed in our OSHA Inspection Checklist desk reference guide.
* * * * * * * *
Scenario 1: An OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) arrives unannounced to begin an inspection, but the employer’s representative whom the employer desires to manage the OSHA inspection is not present at the workplace. Can the employer request that the CSHO return later or wait to start the inspection until the ...
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