Safety Committee


Mission:
Build and cultivate a culture of safety among our members to help all our member employees to go home safe every night.

 Scott Hofer, Esq., Chair   Freeman, Mathis, & Gary   shofer@fmglaw.com  
 Holly DeLorenzo  Hardenbergh Insurance Group  hdelorenzo@hig.net
 Ana Lucas  Starlite Electric, LLC  ana@starliteelectricllc.com
 Pete Clausen  D.J. Wagner Heating & Air Conditioning  pclausen@djwagner.com
 Peter Solor  Wu & Associates  peter.solor@wuassociates.com
 Marie Wright  Worth and Company, Inc.  mwright@worthandcompany.com
 Dan Henry  Alliance Risk Management  dan@riskmgt.com
 John Braun  Signature Safety  john@signaturesafety.net
 Adam Mignano  Rue  Insurance  amignano@rueinsurance.com
 Joe Slover  Quality Sheet Metal & Welding  safetym@qsm-w.com
 Richard Musicant  Alpine Painting  Richard@alpinepainting.com
 Dominick Mondi  ABC New Jersey  dmondi@abcnjc.org
 Sharon Hofer, Esq.  ABC New Jersey  shofer@abcnjc.org

FactSheet

OSHA Inspections

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is committed to strong, fair  and effective enforcement of safety and health requirements in the workplace. OSHA inspectors, called compliance safety and health officers, are experienced, well-trained industrial hygienists and safety professionals whose goal is to assure compliance with OSHA requirements and help employers and workers reduce  on-the-job hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and deaths in the workplace.

               Normally, OSHA conducts inspections without advance notice. Employers have the right to require compliance officers to obtain an inspection warrant before



entering the worksite.

Inspection Priorities

OSHA cannot inspect all 7 million workplaces it covers each year. The agency seeks to focus its inspection resources on the most hazardous workplaces in the following order of priority:

1.               Imminent danger situations—hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm receive top priority. Compliance officers will ask employers to correct these hazards immediately or remove endangered employees.

2.               Severe injuries and illnesses—employers must report:

  All work-related fatalities within 8 hours.

  All work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye within 24 hours.

3.                Worker Complaints—allegations of hazards or violations also receive a high priority. Employees may request anonymity when they file complaints.

4.                Referrals of hazards from other federal, state or local agencies, individuals, organizations or the media receive consideration for inspection.

5.                Targeted inspections—inspections aimed at specific high-hazard industries or individual workplaces that have experienced high rates of injuries and illnesses also receive priority.

6.                Follow-up inspections—checks for abatement of violations cited during previous inspections are also conducted by the agency in certain circumstances.

Phone/Fax Investigations

OSHA carefully prioritizes all complaints it receives based on their severity. For lower-priority hazards, with permission of a complainant, OSHA may telephone the employer to describe safety and health concerns, following up with a fax providing details on alleged safety and health hazards. The employer must respond in writing within five working days, identifying any problems found and noting corrective actions taken or planned. If the response is adequate and the complainant is satisfied with the response, OSHA generally will not conduct an on-site inspection.

On-site Inspections

Preparation—Before conducting an inspection, OSHA compliance officers research the inspection history of a worksite using various data sources, review the operations and processes in use and the standards most likely to apply. They gather appropriate personal protective equipment and testing instruments to measure potential hazards.

Presentation of credentials—The on-site inspection begins with the presentation of the compliance officer’s credentials, which include both a photograph and a serial number.

Opening Conference—The compliance officer will explain why OSHA selected the workplace for inspection and describe the scope of the inspection, walkaround procedures, employee representation and employee interviews. The employer then selects a representative to accompany the compliance officer during the inspection. An authorized representative of the employees, if any, also has the right to go along. In any case, the compliance officer will consult privately with a reasonable number of employees during the inspection.

Walkaround—Following the opening conference, the compliance officer and the representatives will walk through the portions of the workplace covered by the inspection, inspecting for hazards that could lead to employee injury or illness. The compliance officer will also review worksite injury and illness records and the posting of the official OSHA poster.

During the walkaround, compliance officers may point out some apparent violations that can be corrected immediately. While the law requires that these hazards must still be cited, prompt  correction is a sign of good faith on the part of the employer. Compliance officers try to minimize work interruptions during the inspection and will keep confidential any trade secrets they observe.

Closing Conference—After the walkaround, the compliance officer holds a closing conference with the employer and the employee representatives to discuss the findings. The compliance officer discusses possible courses of action an employer may take following an inspection, which could include an informal conference with OSHA or contesting citations and proposed penalties. The compliance officer also discusses consultation services and employee rights.

Results

When an inspector finds violations of OSHA standards or serious hazards, OSHA may issue citations and fines. OSHA must issue a citation and proposed penalty within six months of the violation’s occurrence. Citations describe OSHA requirements allegedly violated, list any proposed penalties and give a deadline for correcting the alleged hazards. Violations are categorized as willful, serious, other-than-serious, de minimis, failure to abate, and repeated. In settling a penalty, OSHA has a policy of reducing penalties for small employers and those acting in good faith. For serious violations, OSHA may also reduce the proposed penalty based on the gravity of the alleged violation. No good faith adjustment will be made for alleged willful violations. For information on penalty ranges, see www.osha.gov/penalties.

 

Appeals

When OSHA issues a citation to an employer, it also offers the employer an opportunity for an informal conference with the OSHA Area Director to discuss citations, penalties, abatement dates or any other information pertinent to the inspection. The agency and the employer may work out a  settlement agreement to resolve the matter and to eliminate the hazard. OSHA’s primary goal is  correcting hazards and maintaining compliance rather than issuing citations or collecting penalties.

Alternatively, employers have 15 working days after receipt of citations and proposed penalties to formally contest the alleged violations and/or penalties by sending a written notice to the Area Director. OSHA forwards the contest to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission for independent review. Alternatively, citations, penalties and abatement dates that are not challenged by the employer or settled become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.



This is one in a series of informational fact sheets highlighting OSHA programs, policies or standards. It does not impose any new compliance requirements. For a comprehensive list of compliance requirements of OSHA standards or regulations, refer to Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations. This information will be made available to sensory-impaired individuals upon request. The voice phone is (202) 693-1999; teletypewriter (TTY) number: (877) 889-5627.

DEP FS-3783  08/2016



Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national trade association representing more than 21,000 members from more than 21,303 construction and industry-related firms. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which they work.