Real Life OSHA

It seems that working with OSHA comes with owning a shop, and can often be a headache, but here are some tips to relieve that pain.


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Rob Medlock is the senior vice president of general industry for SCT, a woman-owned business enterprise delivering comprehensive occupational safety and health solutions to both the public and private sectors. SCT’s mission is to provide clients with reliable and responsible services that will save costs and create efficiencies without compromising environmental, occupational, and engineering quality. They handle Occupational Health SolutionsWorkplace Audits & OSHA Compliance SolutionsSafety and Health Training ProgramsComprehensive Engineering Services and Expert Witness Services.

Rob has led the Cleveland area OSHA Office for 20 years as area director. He has both internal and external perspectives about OSHA, its procedures and compliance inspections. A key component of his role with OSHA was to determine whether employers violated safety standards and their degree of responsibility in workplace compliance. He has presided over approximately 4,750 OSHA Settlement Conferences with employers who were cited by OSHA for violations of the OSHA Standards. 

Here are his do's and don'ts when working with OSHA and how to be prepared for and handle an on-site OSHA inspection.

Have a plan
Have OSHA-savvy representation.
Have written OSHA-compliant programs organized and accessible.
Determine purpose, scope and authorization for inspection.
Duplicate photos and take notes of activity and conversations.
Challenge expansion of inspection.
 Answer questions accurately and stick to the subject.
Have consultative audits from a recognized source.
Have management representation during interviews.
Cooperate with OSHA to a limit.
Wing it.
Have representation unfamiliar with OSHA.
Provide programs that have not been implemented or were shelved.
Just let OSHA walk in and have free reign.
Trust your memory. (Time changes stories and distorts facts. Get it in writing.)
Let them go beyond the scope of initial inquiry.
Talk too much or B.S. the officer. (Cooperate, but don't be a doormat.)
Think in-house audits are good enough.
Pressure employees afater OSHA interviews. (Debriefing is OK.)
Require a warrant unless inspection or scope is unreasonable.
Contact Rob with any OSHA questions and safety needs at RMedlock@sct.us.com.