Posted by Thelma Marshall, VP of Solutions, April 21, 2020VP

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

You may have little warning that an OSHA inspection is about to occur. But how you handle unexpected investigations resulting from an employee complaint could impact its outcome.

It pays to be prepared for this possibility, since it could occur at any time. Approaching the situation with positivity, versus anger, can produce favorable results.

OSHA created the whistleblower provision so that employers can effectively receive and respond to employee reports of noncompliance regarding safety and health or other laws. But this program also prevents and addresses retaliation against whistleblower employees.

Retaliation against employees who report concerns under this law is illegal. OSHA realizes there will be cases where false accusations are made by disgruntled employees. But the agency contends that most are genuine, and employers benefit from learning about compliance issues.

Create a plan to prevent retaliation

Employees should be educated about their rights to report issues and be assured that they will not face retribution for doing so. OSHA suggests that a company’s anti-retaliation program contain these five key elements:

  1. Committed managers who lead by example, encourage employees to report concerns and respect confidentiality.
  2. A clearly communicated system for resolving employees’ reported concerns.
  3. A system for receiving and responding to reports of retaliation.
  4. Anti-retaliation for employees and managers.
  5. Program oversight, with regular monitoring or audits that identify strengths and weaknesses.

How to prepare for OSHA

OSHA will investigate all reports of non-compliance, even when they suspect a report lacks legitimacy. Here’s how to prepare for a visit from OSHA:

  1. Make certain Lockout/Tagout procedures are in place and enforced.

Use telematic systems monitoring and rely on:

  • Safety Checklist – questions configured to lockout a vehicle if a safety question is failed
  • Unit Profile – configured to lockout a truck on impact so vehicle cannot be operated. Only a Maintenance user who is logged in to the unit can reset the lockout state.
  • Resetter/Maintenance Role – specific workers allowed to unlock a locked unit.

Any unit that has been or is in lockout state is tracked within the system. The documentation can be exported out in report form.

  1. Certification records are up to date for all powered industrial trucks

Operator Certifications should show operators who have completed training, when it was completed and expiration dates.

  1. Make sure your system can deliver complete document retention

Data should be kept on the server to be accessed directly at any time either from the production system or if archived, from the archived file. If there is an OSHA inspection, your enterprise should ask that all document requests be provided in writing to remove any confusion. Rely on:

Being prepared and knowing what to do, and what not to do, is important to successful interactions with OSHA inspectors. Your telematic system should provide documented proof that the operation is in full compliance.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Get a Smarter Operation

Learn how TotalTrax can improve your operation, ask a question, or get more information.

"*" indicates required fields