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Should You Be Afraid of OSHA?

Should You Be Afraid of OSHA?

It is a phrase likely to strike fear in even the most experienced of business owners: “OSHA is coming!”  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a reputation for being tough on businesses when they are down, and the thought of an inspection by OSHA can be daunting. OSHA might not be the bad guys they have been made out to be, and here is why.   They Are Here To Help The main focus of OSHA is in their name: “occupational safety” and “occupational health”. The mission of OSHA is “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance” (from About OSHA). Your business wants a safe and healthy work environment for your employees to reduce employee illness or injury, downtime and workers compensation premiums.  OSHA provides a wealth of training and resources by industry to help you do all of these things.   Inspections Can Be A Good Thing One of the biggest ways OSHA can help is by performing workplace inspections.  Why, then, do so many companies fear an OSHA inspection? There are two main types of inspections that OSHA performs: Planned or programmed investigations. These are planned by the department, but are still surprise inspections of certain high-hazard industries and individual workplaces that have demonstrated high rates of illness or injury. Incident-related inspections. While these are still surprise inspections, the employer should be expecting an OSHA inspector if there has recently been an on-the-job fatality or catastrophe, an imminent danger situation, a complaint filed by an employee (usually...