Planning Your Self-Inspection Program

Special Topics in Safety Management
by ckilbourne

Yesterday, we talked about the purpose and benefits of self-inspection safety audits. Today, we conclude with a look at planning your program and deciding which type of inspection to conduct.

A good safety audit program does not come easily. The effort requires careful planning and diligent preparation. The program unfolds after you decide what you want to cover in your inspections.

The following questions should be considered in laying plans for a safety audit program in your organization:

  • What departments or operations will be covered in the inspection tour?
  • What items or activities will be checked?
  • How often will the inspections be carried out?
  • Who will conduct the tours?
  • How will the inspections be conducted?
  • What type of followup activity will be put in place so that corrections are, in fact, made?
  • Does management understand that hazards or unsafe work practices will need to be corrected and that this will require human resources, management and engineering expertise?

Don’t become a statistic. Instead, join us on February 28 for an in-depth webinar on the five biggest OSHA compliance challenges you face—and how to master them. Learn More.

General vs. Specific

Of course, the very first question that must be asked, experts in the safety audit field generally agree, is: Do you want to conduct a general inspection or do you want to conduct a special type of inspection?

  • General inspections are considered comprehensive reviews of all safety and industrial health exposures in a given area or even a complete facility.
  • Special inspections (sometimes called targeted inspections) deal with specific exposures in a given unit, section, or even plantwide. Such an inspection might focus on electrical hazards in machinery used for manufacturing, or the hazards that may have generated back injuries as recorded in the OSHA 300 log or noticed during a review of workers’ compensation reports. It could involve the branch’s compliance with the OSHA hazard communication standard and the development of a checklist for compliance with the principal elements of that standard.

A good self-inspection program can include both the special and the general type of inspections. For example, one month a program could involve a complete plant tour for safety hazards. The next month the inspection program could focus on PPE and how it is used on the job.

OSHA encourages such a mixed approach, believing that a combination of the two types of programs can strengthen a plant’s accident-prevention effort.

Learn how to overcome common compliance hurdles and avoid costly penalties by participating in BLR’s February 28 webinar. Click here for details.

Don’t Face Costly Penalties

Whether your organization is big or small, OSHA demands a lot of you—and, if you fall short, you can face costly penalties (or, even more tragically, serious injuries or deaths).

Self-inspections are a big help. But there’s a lot to keep track of, and too many companies make the same preventable mistakes over and over, which is why the list of top citations varies little from year to year.

Don’t become a statistic. As the old saying goes, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Instead, join us on February 28 for an in-depth webinar on the five biggest OSHA compliance challenges you face – and how to master them.

You’ll learn:

  • The current OSHA enforcement posture—including an update based on the recent election
  • The most frequently cited OSHA standards that occur again and again—and how to avoid becoming a statistic yourself
  • The Top 5 OSHA compliance challenges that most companies face—and why mastering just these 5 will put your safety program on a strong footing for years to come
  • Strategies that will enable you to establish an ongoing, proactive safety management system
  • Best practices that create safety success for real-life organizations
  • What you need to know to thoroughly prepare for an OSHA inspection
  • How to discipline employees who can’t—or won’t—follow your safety rules
  • An effective follow-up process to help ensure that mishaps are corrected rather than repeated

About Your Speaker

Brad Hammock, Esq. is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Jackson Lewis LLP. Hammock practices exclusively in the safety and health area, and heads the firm’s Workplace Safety Compliance practice group.

Hammock’s national practice focuses on all aspects of occupational safety and health law, and he works closely with employers to help them understand and implement OSHA rules. He joined the firm in 2008 after serving for ten years as an OSHA attorney within the Department of Labor including, most recently, more than three years as lead counsel for safety standards.

Hammock received his B.A. in American Government from the University of Virginia in 1992. In 1996, he received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the Syracuse University College of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Syracuse Journal of International Law and Commerce, and Associate Editor of The Labor Lawyer.

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