Contractors Need to be Prepared for OSHA Inspections

Navigating the OSHA inspection and citation process can be a difficult task. However, if you are prepared prior to receiving an inspection, you are less likely to receive a citation and more likely to enforce applicable safety standards on your projects. This article will focus on a few of the more significant safety tips that contractors should consider implementing on their construction projects.

First and foremost, every contractor should have a written safety and health manual that adequately addresses work place safety and is updated frequently. If you have Spanish-speaking workers, your safety manual should be in Spanish as well as English. Each employee should sign and indicate that they have received a copy of the safety manual. The safety manual should be in each truck used by the contractor so that if OSHA requests a copy of the safety manual, the person in charge of the job will have access to the manual upon request.

In addition to having an effective safety manual, the contractor needs to enforce the safety procedures contained in the program. Often, contractors develop a system where employees are reprimanded for safety violations and ultimately suspended or terminated. OSHA will be looking to see if the employer has a history of implementing its safety program by enforcing the guidelines through punishment. Accordingly, contractors should keep written records of all reprimands, suspensions or terminations resulting from safety violations.

Each contractor should make sure they have current OSHA 300/301 logs available upon request. Inevitably, the OSHA inspector will ask to review these logs to determine if the contractor is compliant. The contractor also should have designated safety personnel on each job to oversee the project and enforce the safety manual when needed. The designated safety officer should have competent person training and be familiar with the project-specific safety issues.

In addition to having designated safety personnel on each job, the contractor should reinforce safety training by providing toolbox talks, lectures and seminars on safety topics, routine safety audits, inspections of equipment and offer traditional training to its employees including the 10-hour OSHA training course. It is important that all employees know how to properly use fall protection equipment and to make sure that the fall protection equipment is OSHA compliant.

These are but a few of the safety tips that contractors can use in their business to help address safety issues and prepare them for the inevitable OSHA inspection. It is also important for contractor to stay informed and keep current with all OSHA regulations.

By Trent Cotney for
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
8621 E. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Tampa, FL 33610


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