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2014 OSHA Inspection Changes

Julie Copeland

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Are You Ready For a Pop Quiz?Are you prepared for an OSHA inspection?

In high school, I had a teacher who liked to give pop quizzes.

The message she shared with the first test was, “In my class, you should always be prepared.” Her mantra stayed with me throughout that class, and I’m reminded of it today when thinking of OSHA’s plan for 2014.  

In their budget request for 2014 OSHA stated this: “OSHA has already operated under the assumption that ‘more inspections are better’ as the more establishments inspected, the greater OSHA’s presence, and hence the greater the agency’s impact … The problem with this model is that not all inspections are created equal, as some inspections take more time and resources to complete than the average or typical OSHA inspection.”  

Facing a budget shortage, OSHA is implementing a weighted inspection system rating inspections by their complexity, the heaviest obviously having the greatest impact on workplace safety and health.  

Here’s how they’ll achieve these changes:  

1.    More Health Inspections Than Ever Before

The companies more likely to receive OSHA inspections are facilities where emerging chemical and health issues are likely to come up. OSHA plans to conduct 7,850 health inspections, which is an additional 450 health inspections from 2013.  

2.   Less Safety Inspections Than Before

This is so federal compliance officers are able to spend more hours on complicated, time-consuming investigations. The 2014 goal is to conduct 31,400 safety inspections, 2,200 fewer safety inspections than 2013.  

3.   Less Inspections Overall

OSHA is going to focus more on the quality of inspections rather than quantity. They plan to visit 1,711 fewer work sites than in 2012.  

4.   Federal Agencies Must Submit Injury and Illness Data

In 2014, these agencies are required to submit their annual workplace injury and illness data to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ever year. This way, OSHA can analyze the data of more than two million federal agency workers and develop training and inspection programs accordingly.

News of the OSHA safety inspection cutbacks raises a lot of questions. Namely, if OSHA focuses on a few weighty workplace safety inspections, will this cause workplace safety to suffer in the numerous unobserved sites?  

Just as I needed to be prepared in high school for the pop quiz, every workplace should operate as if OSHA is going to show up at any moment. Workplace accidents and injuries occur anytime, anywhere, and you’re putting your employees and business at risk if you don’t take the proper preventative measures. If you cut corners on safety thinking that you are safe because you may not be inspected, the fact is that you’re not safe. Your employees are not safe. And you’re doing a disservice to those who rely on you to be safe in the workplace.  

Remember: OSHA or not, taking the time and effort to implement safety training programs and personal protective equipment is always going to cost less than injured or ill workers and the associated workers’ compensation costs.  

Are you ready for your pop quiz? To learn more about implementing your own safety training programs to ensure your workers’ well-being? Call 800-523-5367 or click on the button below to speak with a workplace safety specialist at Arbill.  

Have a safe day!  

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