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How OSHA Conducts Inspections

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Presentation on theme: "How OSHA Conducts Inspections"— Presentation transcript:

1 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Section Two, number 10 of the OSHA Act mandates that OSHA provide an effective enforcement program for established occupational health & safety standards. Inspection protocol: Display credentials Opening conference Walk around inspection Closing conference

2 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
OSHA has the authority to conduct worksite inspections. They are required to: “Enter without delay…..” “Inspect and investigate….” Companies may request a search warrant Section 8 of the Act lists OSHA’s rights for inspections Normally no advance notice Imminent danger or inspect after normal business hours, less than 24 hour notice If advance notice is given, employers are to notify employees.

3 How OSHA Conducts Inspections OSHA establishes priorities for inspections
Imminent Danger Top priority Employees notify employer of imminent danger If no action taken, notify OSHA Section 13 of the Act covers OSHA’s power to protect against imminent danger workplace hazards. Reports can be referrals from other agencies, or employees exposed. Imminent Danger: Reasonable certainty a danger exists expected to cause death or serious harm before normal enforcement procedures.

4 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Catastrophes and Fatal Accidents Second priority For fatalities involving one or more employees and catastrophes resulting in the hospitalization of three or more employees Employers must report to OSHA within 8 hours Call OSHA, or nearest OSHA office. OSHA determines if standards were violated & prevent recurrence

5 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Employee Complaints Third priority Referrals from employees & outside agencies of unsafe or unhealthful conditions Informal review available for decisions not to inspect Confidentiality is maintained on request If OSHA chooses not to inspect a facility based on an employee complaint, the employee may request that OSHA provide an informal meeting to discuss the decision. Employees filing complaints against their employer may request that there identity be withheld and OSHA will then not reveal the source of the complaint.

6 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Programmed High-Hazard Inspections Fourth priority Aimed at high hazard industries, occupations, or health substances Selection criteria examples: Fall protection, excavations, power press Programmed High-Hazard inspections can also be the result of an OSHA special emphasis program, which can be regional or national in scope.

7 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Follow up inspections determine whether previously cited violations have been corrected. “Notification of Failure to Abate” Failure to Abate If an employer has failed to abate a violation, the compliance officer informs the employer that they are subject to “Notification of Failure to Abate” alleged violations and may face additional proposed daily penalties while such failure or violation continues.

8 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
The inspection process Compliance officer becomes familiar with facility History Nature of business Relevant standards Industrial Hygiene equipment selection Prior to inspection, the compliance officer becomes familiar with as many relevant facts as possible about the workplace, taking into account such things as the history of the establishment, the nature of the business and the particular standards likely to apply. Preparing for the inspection also involves selecting appropriate equipment for detecting and measuring fumes, gases, toxic substances, noise, etc..

9 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Inspectors credentials Inspection begins when inspector arrives at facility Displays government issued credentials Employers should always ask to see ID USDOL with photo and serial number Employer should verify by phoning OSHA An OSHA compliance officer carries U.S. Department of Labor credentials bearing his or her photograph and a serial number than can be verified by phoning the nearest OSHA office. Anyone who tries to collect a penalty at the time of inspection, or promotes the sale of a product or service at any time, is not an OSHA compliance officer.

10 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Opening Conference Inspector explains why facility was selected Explains purpose of visit, inspection scope and applicable standards Complaint copies distributed Employee representative may be summoned An authorized employee representative also is given the opportunity to attend the opening conference and to accompany the compliance officer during inspection. If union, ordinarily will designate the employee representative to accompany the compliance officer. If no representative, inspector will consult with some employees during inspection, may be in private.

11 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Inspection tour Route and duration determined by inspector Consults with employees Photos Instrument readings Examine records While talking with employees, the compliance officer makes every effort to minimize any work interruptions. The compliance officer observes conditions, consults with employees, may take photos (for record purposes), takes instrument readings and examines records.

12 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Inspection Tour Inspector will point out unsafe conditions observed & possible corrective action if employer requests Apparent violations can be corrected immediately May still result in citation Posting and recordkeeping are checked. The compliance officer will inspect records of deaths, injuries and illnesses which the employer is required to keep. He or she will check to see that a copy of the totals from the last page of OSHA No. 300 has been posted and that the OSHA workplace poster (OSHA 2203) is prominently displayed.

13 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Closing Conference Discussion of problems, questions and answers Discussion of recommended citations Time needed for abatement Area Director issues citations and assess dollar amounts The compliance officer discusses with the employer all unsafe or unhealthful conditions observed on the inspection and indicates all apparent violations for which a citation may be issued or recommended. The employer is told of appeal rights. The compliance officer does not indicate any proposed penalties. Only the OSHA area director has that authority, and only after having received a full report.

14 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Types of Violations - Other Than Serious Violation Normally would not cause death or serious injury Up to $ 7,000 Adjusted downward as much as 95% Factors: Good faith History of violations Size of business Citations inform the employer and employees of the regulations and standards alleged to have been violated and of the proposed length of time set for their abatement. The employer will receive citations and notices of proposed penalties by certified mail. The employer must post a copy of each citation at or near the place a violation occurred, for three days or until the violation is abated, whichever is longer.

15 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Types of Violations - Serious Violation High probability of death or serious harm Mandatory $ 7,000 Adjusted downward: Good faith Gravity of alleged violation Violation history Size of business Substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. Mandatory penalty of up to $7,000 for each violation is proposed. A penalty for a serious violation may be adjusted downward, based on the employer's good faith, history of previous violations, the gravity of the alleged violation, and size of business.

16 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Types of Violations - Willful Violation Employer knowingly commits with plain indifference to the law Either knows action is a violation, or is aware of hazardous condition with no effort to eliminate Up to $ 70,000 for each Minimum of $ 5,000 The employer either knows that what he or she is doing constitutes a violation, or is aware that a hazardous condition existed and made no reasonable effort to eliminate it. A proposed penalty for a willful violation may be adjusted downward, depending on the size of the business and its history of previous violations. Usually, no credit is given for good faith.

17 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Types of Violations - Willful Violation If convicted of a willful violation that resulted in death, court imposed fine, up to six months in jail, or both Criminal conviction, up to $ 250,000 for individual; $ 500,000 corporation If an employer is convicted of a willful violation of a standard that has resulted in the death of an employee, the offense is punishable by a court-imposed fine or by imprisonment for up to six months, or both. A fine of up to $250,000 for an individual, or $500,000 for a corporation, may be imposed for a criminal conviction.

18 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Types of Violations - Repeat Violation Same or substantially similar, up to $ 70,000 for each violation A violation of any standard, regulation, rule, or order where, upon reinspection, a substantially similar violation can bring a fine of up to $70,000 for each such violation. To be the basis of a repeated citation, the original citation must be final; a citation under contest may not serve as the basis for a subsequent repeated citation.

19 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Types of Violations - Failure to Abate Up to $ 7000/day Failure to abate a prior violation may bring a civil penalty of up to $7,000 for each day the violation continues beyond the prescribed abatement date.

20 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Types of Violations - De Minimis Violation No direct relationship to safety or health De minimis violations are violations of standards which have no direct or immediate relationship to safety or health. Whenever de minimis conditions are found during an inspection, they are documented in the same way as any other violation, but are not included on the citation.

21 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Types of Violations - Falsifying records Up to $ 10,000, six months in jail, or both Violations of posting requirements Civil fine up to $ 7,000 Assaulting, interfering with, intimidating an inspector while performing their duties, up to three years prison, and $ 5,000 fine Assaulting a compliance officer, or otherwise resisting, opposing, intimidating, or interfering with a compliance officer while they are engaged in the performance of their duties is a criminal offense, subject to a fine of not more than $5,000 and imprisonment for not more than three years. Citation and penalty procedures may differ somewhat in states with their own occupational safety and health programs.

22 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Appeals Employees may request informal review Employees can contest abatement time-frame Employees may request informal conference to discuss inspections, citations, employer notice of intent to contest If an inspection was initiated due to an employee complaint, the employee or authorized employee representative may request an informal review of any decision not to issue a citation. Employees may not contest citations, amendments to citations, penalties or lack of penalties. The may contest the time in the citation for abatement of a hazardous condition.

23 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Appeals Employers can request informal conference Area Director authorized to enter into settlement agreements that revise citations When issued a citation or notice of a proposed penalty, an employer may request an informal meeting with OSHA's area director to discuss the case. Employee representatives may be invited to attend the meeting. The area director is authorized to enter into settlement agreements that revise citations and penalties to avoid prolonged legal disputes.

24 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Petition for Modification of Abatement Employers written petition to extent abatement time for conditions beyond their control Includes steps taken, how much additional time, temporary steps The written petition should specify all steps taken to achieve compliance, the additional time needed to achieve complete compliance, the reasons such additional time is needed, all temporary steps being taken to safeguard employees against the cited hazard during the intervening period, that a copy of the PMA was posted in a conspicuous place at or near each place where a violation occurred

25 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Notice of Contest 15 days to notify Area Director Must be in writing Copy given to employee representative Or posted in prominent location There is no specific format for the Notice of Contest; however it must clearly identify the employer's basis for filing the citation, notice of proposed penalty, abatement period, or notification of failure to correct violations. Citations must be posted in a prominent location, or at or near the location of the apparent violation for a period of three working days or until the violation is corrected.

26 How OSHA Conducts Inspections
Review Procedure Notice of contest forwarded to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) Independent of OSHA and DOL Commission assigns case to an administrative law judge Judge can disallow or schedule hearing Rulings can be appealed to U.S. Court of Appeals

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