How to Survive an OSHA Inspection: Part 2

If OSHA comes knocking, be co-operative and responsive when the OSHA inspector arrives, but  maintaini control of the onsite safety inspection if possible.
If OSHA comes knocking, be co-operative and responsive when the OSHA inspector arrives, but maintain control of the onsite safety inspection if possible.

(Part 2 of this two-part blog post series explains what to expect during an OSHA on-site inspection, the rights a company has during an inspection and how to impose a level of control over how an inspection proceeds. Check out Part 1 to learn about the expected focus on OSHA onsite inspections in 2022 and how to prepare.)

Many companies aren’t prepared for a surprise examination of their workplace facilities so it’s essential to think ahead and establish parameters for inspection if and when Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors come to call.

Kirsten White, a partner with Atlanta-based legal firm Fisher Phillips LLC, recommends being co-operative and responsive when an OSHA inspector arrives, but to also focus on maintaining control of the onsite safety … Read more...

Falls Top the OSHA Top 10 List of Safety Violations for More than a Decade

OSHA revealed the Top 10 safety violations for fiscal year 2021 at the NSC Safety Congress & Expo and once again, falls top the list.
OSHA revealed the Top 10 safety violations for fiscal year 2021 at the NSC Safety
Congress & Expo and once again, falls top the list.

One of the most highly anticipated events at every NSC Safety Congress & Expo is the announcement of the list of top safety violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). On Oct. 12, OSHA announced its preliminary Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards for fiscal year 2021 and for the 11th year, falls topped the list.

Kevin Druley, the associate editor of Safety+Health magazine, introduced Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, who presented the list virtually during the 2021 NSC Safety Congress & Expo, the world’s largest annual gathering of safety professionals.

Scott Gaddis, Vice President, Global Practice Leader – Safety and Health at Intelex Technologies Inc., joins David Wagner from Industrial Scientific to discuss “Why Read more...

Don’t Use COVID-19 as Excuse for OSHA Non-Compliance: Legal Experts

When it comes to recordkeeping, the hardest questions employers are grappling with are whether an incident is recordable or not, and whether it is work-related.

Employers who try to use the pandemic as an excuse for non-compliance with OSHA regulations can expect no mercy from the agency and will still face hefty fines and penalties, according to legal experts.

During a recent webinar hosted by the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), Todd Logsdon, partner at Fisher & Phillips LLP, and Barry Spurlock, practicing attorney and associate professor at Eastern Kentucky University, offered these and other insights into common questions they have received around how OSHA regulations may or may not have changed in the new COVID landscape. Here is a summary of their observations on a number of top-of-mind topics.

Training During COVID

Many organizations are wondering how to proceed with required training while operating under the onerous restrictions … Read more...

Expert Connect Explores OSHA under the Biden Administration: Compliance, Enforcement, Collaboration or All Three?

What does OSHA under the Biden administration look like? Read what Scott has to say and learn more from our experts on April 7th’s Expert Connect.

With new leadership at the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA and the Biden administration signaling a return to more regulatory and compliance oversight, our panel of experts have been invited to explore how enforcement and regulatory action might change and what EHS professionals should be doing to prepare.

Join us on April 7th from 10:00–10:45 am EDT “OSHA under Biden.” Our panelists include Scott Gaddis, Vice President, Global Practice Leader—Safety & Health, Intelex, Travis Vance, Partner, Fisher & Phillips LLP and Jennifer Debias, Director of Business Development – North America, RegScan. Our moderator is Jonna Pedersen, Senior Manager, Customer Success, Intelex.

Scott recently sat down to answer some questions about the OSHA Under Biden session. Here’s what he had to say:… Read more...

Lessons Learned the Hard Way: OSHA’s Most Common COVID-19 Citations

OSHA Violations and Solutions

Although there is no federal standard related to COVID in the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been conducting COVID-19-related inspections and has frequently cited for violating certain standards, primarily the Respiratory Protection Standard and the Personal Protection Equipment standard.

On Nov. 20, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it has issued 232 citations arising from inspections for violations relating to coronavirus, resulting in proposed penalties totaling $3,148,452.

In an article posted to the Fisher Phillips Workplace Safety and Health Blog, attorney Nicholas S. Hulse warns that a guidance recently issued by the agency “makes it clear that the most commonly cited standards related to COVID-19 involve respiratory protection and personal protective equipment (PPE). Based on the data provided by OSHA, it is evident that many employers are issuing respirators to employees without the required medical evaluation and without establishing and implementing … Read more...

Learning from the Past: Building a Safer Environment for the Future of Construction

The National Safety Stand Down and OSHA’s National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down typically are scheduled for the first week of May, but as you know, 2020 is not a typical year. However, construction workers are considered “essential,” and many construction sites remain active, so the postponement of the Safety Stand-Down is no reason to postpone construction worksite safety!

One of the reasons OSHA and other organizations maintain a special focus on construction safety is because it is considered one of the deadliest professions, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation, for example, continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for nearly one-third of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded in 2018 (BLS data). Roofers are No. 4 on the list of the 10 deadliest professions, while iron and steel structural workers are listed at … Read more...

OSHA’s Most Common Citations: Machine Guarding

The importance of machine guarding is a matter of life and limb.

Improperly guarded machinery and powered motorized industrial equipment that hasn’t been effectively locked out exposes workers to any number of lethal hazards that can result in serious injuries, such as amputations of limbs, or even death.

Machine guards are those safety features connected to industrial equipment that shields or provides a barrier cover for a machine’s hazardous areas to prevent harmful contact between dangerous moving components and body parts. Machine guards might also barricade hazards such as chips or sparks created from the operation of industrial equipment. These devices protect people from injuries as they are working near or are operating equipment.

Machine guarding is included among the annual list of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) most frequently issued citations. When OSHA determines that a hazard is pervasive, it may create a special enforcement program, called … Read more...

OSHA’s Most Common Citations: Respiratory Protection Programs

It’s all about breathing easy.

In this ongoing series of blogs about the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Association’s (OSHA’s) list of 10 most cited standards, we now come to the issue of respiratory protection programs.

Sometimes, the best way to protect workers against airborne chemicals in the workplace is to use respirators. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as buying some facemasks out of the respiratory protection catalog and handing them out to workers. A respiratory protection program requires a fair bit of legwork to create and implement.

You may need a respiratory protection program (29 CFR 1910.134) if your workers are exposed to a hazardous level of an airborne contaminant, and their exposure cannot be reduced below the OSHA permissible exposure limit through the use of engineering controls (for example, substitution or mechanical ventilation), or if workers are exposed to oxygen-deficient atmospheres. You may also require workers to … Read more...

OSHA’s Most Common Citations – Part 3: Lockout/Tagout

Downtime may be the worst time when it comes to workplace hazards.

When a machine or other equipment operates normally, workers are protected from most of its potential hazards, assuming they operate the machinery safely and as prescribed. But when it is necessary to expose the inside of equipment for the purposes of maintenance or repair, workers may be exposed to hazards that are normally enclosed, guarded, or otherwise inaccessible. At those times, it is important to make sure that no part of the machine could unexpectedly start up, cycle, fall or release energy that could injure a worker. This is done by neutralizing all energy sources before beginning a task, and locking or tagging them out of service.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) lockout/tagout standard, (29 CFR 1910.147) requires employers to:

  • Create energy control procedures for each piece of machinery or equipment that could pose a
Read more...

OSHA’s Most Common Citations: Hazard Communications

Hazard communication is one of OSHA’s perennial top-10 citations. Without the labeling and training required by the hazard communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), workers might not realize that the chemicals they work with every day could be causing cancer, allergies, lung disease or reproductive harm.

After all, while you can clearly see that a sharp blade might cut your arm off, the link between a chemical exposure and a cancer that doesn’t appear until 20 years later is much less visible.

That said, the requirements of the hazard communication standard are fairly straightforward.

  • Employers are required to make a list of all chemicals that are present in the workplace.
  • Employers must have a written hazard communication plan that addresses all facets of compliance, including in-house labeling systems, contractor chemical safety, and unlabeled pipes.
  • Chemical manufacturers, importers and distributors are required to ensure that chemicals are properly labeled. Employers receiving these
Read more...