No construction company wants to get stuck with an OSHA audit. It’s a nightmare and it usually means that somewhere, somebody accused you of violating a safety regulation. It’s even worse when you don’t know what you may have done wrong. As if it’s not enough of a hassle to deal with your bids, budgets, staff and subcontractors, an unexpected visit by OSHA can cost you thousands of dollars in hours, time and effort as you scramble to get records together.
There are, however, things you can do in order to avoid surprise visits from the DOL. Here are some strategies and tips to make you proof against unexpected visits and avoid OSHA audits, and it’s not as hard as you might think at first!
Avoid OSHA Audits
There are two basic strategies you can take to avoid OSHA audits and they’re pretty straightforward. Nobody is 100% audit-proof, but if you follow these basic ideas, you’ll be on pretty solid ground.
The first audit-proofing strategy is that you need to be absolutely sure you comply with all wage and safety regulations at the Federal, state and local level. The second is that you need to keep detailed records of all your activities so you can prove in the face of an audit that you’re absolutely compliant.
Understand Why Audits Happen
The DOL conducts two different kinds of audits: OSHA audits and Wage and Hour audits. OSHA audits are related to safety and health regulations that all businesses must follow. Construction jobs are some of the deadliest in the world, and there are hundreds of regulations, some of which may not even comply to you.
Sometimes inspections occur at random and there’s nothing you can do to avoid these. All, however, are performed without advance notice. They will just show up to check on your compliance issues. If they find noncompliance, you can be fined in the tens of thousands, even over $120,000.
While it can be a pain and a nightmare, remember that OSHA’s main goal is to keep workers safe. Your best bet, even though there’s a ton of regulations, is to carefully read over, learn and follow every regulation that applies to your business. You’ll find that once you adapt safe practice policies, it gets easier to follow them.
Even if a practice seems like it’s excessive or a pain, follow it. It quickly stops being excessive as soon as someone gets hurt because you’re not following it. Learn the law and follow it. It’s your best defense against audits.
Keep Detailed Records
Keep detailed records of all of your safety policies and procedures, of every accident and thorough investigation. The more proof you have that you have followed regulations, the better off you’ll be to defend them when the time comes. Prepare in advance and you’ll be ready when that visit happens.
Every business should be bonded to protect their clients and staff against unforeseen incidents that delay or harm a job. If you need help getting your bonds in place, National Surety Services, Inc. can help. Get in touch with us for more information today!