Occupational Health and Safety lawyers provide valuable advice, to business owners as well as employees entrusted with responsibilities, regarding workplace safety and how to prepare the workplace for an inspection. People found non-compliant with regulations will have to face investigation and charges and it could even lead to litigation. Just as in any other type of litigation, this would involve legal recordings and their transcription by a digital transcription service.
Legal protection of employees is a must for all organizations. Consistent regulatory inspection helps to ensure that the workplace has a good health and safety program. The main functions of the inspection are:
- Identifying existing and potential hazards
- Hearing all the concerns of the workers and supervisors
- Identifying the underlying causes of hazards
- Getting better understanding of the jobs and tasks
- Monitoring hazard controls
- Recommending remedial action
Majority of regulatory inspections starts with an opening conference. The compliance officer meets the management and chooses some employees to explain the purpose and procedure of the inspection. Then they walk around the workplace, and inspect for hazards that can affect the safety of the employees. Finally they discuss their findings with the management and verify whether they are in compliance with OSHA standards. In case of any violation, it could result in fines; or deadlines are given in the case of substandard working conditions.
Recent studies have shown that at three year follow up, regular inspection decreased injuries and accidents by an average of 23 percent in a variety of firms. Researchers at the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health say that companies undergoing random inspections experienced a fall of 9 percent in workplace injuries in the four years after the inspections and the costs of reported injuries fell by 26 percent.
Cynthia Sefton and David Reiter, partners at Aird and Berlis LLP and occupational health safety law specialists suggest some tips to prepare a workplace ready for inspection. Sefton says that the main aim behind an inspection is to ensure the safety of employees and the public; and she also added that an inspection is not an investigation. The frequency of inspections is based on several factors such as:
- State and federal legislation
- The number and size of diverse work operations
- Past incidents
- The type of equipment and work processes
- New processes/machinery
When an inspector comes for inspection, they look for hazards, mistakes. Having a person onsite who is in control of the premises and keeps the records organized makes things easier at the time of an inspection. Proper documentation also helps in case you have to face charges. Inspectors are powerful as they can ask for any testing or can tell you what equipment should not be used if it can cause a hazard.
If the organization is not compliant with OSHA standards or if the employees believe there is a serious safety hazard present at their workplace, they can put their concerns directly before the management. Another option is to file a complaint and ask OSHA to inspect the workplace. They can do so personally, or via an attorney or a union representative. They can also request OSHA to maintain their anonymity. Moreover, during the inspection they or their representatives have the right to follow along with the inspection, talk privately with the inspector, and also take part in the opening and closing conference meetings. Employees can feel confident in that it is a violation of the OSHA Act of 1970 for employers to terminate, demote, transfer, deny a raise, or discriminate against a worker for filing a complaint or using other OSHA rights.
A company providing legal transcription services understands how important it is for individuals to comply with regulatory inspections. It is vital to maintain high organization-level safety and stress-free employees.