OSHA Workplace Inspections Are On The Rise in NC

Holden Moss CPAs recently learned that OSHA has re-focused its activities on enforcement and penalties, with 10 new or revised OSHA rules going into effect in 2013.  Minimum penalties have increased and even doubled in some cases. Further, OSHA has received a slight budget increase for fiscal year 2012 with a majority of the increase going to compliance programs (i.e. inspections and audits).

Sure enough, we are now seeing these inspections trickle down into our local areas. This week, we spoke with a client in Henderson who is presently under audit. We know of at least one other audit under way in Wake Forest as well. This is not a good development.

While the number of job related injuries and deaths have decreased since the 1970s, the number of citations has steadily increased. 68,000 citations were issued in 2009, with projected citations for 2010 numbered at 220,000.

We wanted to warn you of this new development in our area in case you wish to prepare. OSHA auditors should show you proper identification when they arrive on site at your business, but will generally arrive unannounced. If you deny them entry, you should know that they have broad legal subpoena powers to obtain access to whatever, and whomever, they wish.

What can you do to prepare for a potential inspection? You should know which rules apply to you, and be diligent to clean up work areas, including putting tools and equipment away when not in use. Think hazards, not standards when you evaluate the workplace. A great resource to prepare for the possibility of an OSHA inspection is OSHA’s Field Operations Manual.

At inspection time, some OSHA inspectors have said the first five minutes matter the most in giving the best impression. Two things that impress inspectors: a bound and updated safety plan and a tidy and well organized facility or work site.  

OSHA's top 10 most frequently cited standards:

1. Scaffolding

2. Fall Protection

3. Hazard Communication

4. Respiratory Protection

5. Lockout/Tagout

6. Electrical, Wiring Methods

7. Powered Industrial Trucks

8. Ladders

9. Electrical, General Requirements

10. Machine Guarding

We find that a well thought-out business analysis or SWOT analysis provides you with the best information for business planning.  For improving business profitability, try out one of our sample diagnostics:   improving profitability diagnostic.

 As CPAs, we do not practice before OSHA; however, if you need help, please let us know, and we will help you find proper representation.

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