Understanding the various OSHA inspections
Apr 3, 2007 5:15 PM
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections can be generated by certain circumstances at tank cleaning facilities, and managers would do well to understand their similarities and differences, said Marcel Debruge of Burr and Forman LLP.
He made the comments at the National Tank Truck Carriers Tank Cleaning and Environmental Council Seminar April 2-3 in New Orleans LA.
"The inspection, whether programmed in response to an employee complaint or subsequent to an accident, is the starting point for OSHA to gather information in order to generate citations," he said.
A "programmed inspection" comes from OSHA on a national or regional scheduling plan based on objective or neutral selection criteria.
Unprogrammed inspections encompass several types of inspections. An inspection may occur as a result of a referral from a source, including media reports. A complaint must be in writing and signed by the complainant and contain a description, with reasonable particularity, of the violation at issue. However, unless the referral appears to involve a high-gravity hazard, OSHA responds by contacting the employer rather than conducting an on-site inspection, Debruge said.
A inspection generated by "imminent dangers" at the site occurs when conditions or practices in any place of employment could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm immediately or before the danger can be eliminated through enforcement procedures otherwise required.
"If OSHA receives an imminent danger complaint, it may inspect the premises immediately and may attempt to have any employees in imminent danger voluntarily removed from the site or area," he said.
Inspections also are conducted after a fatality. In addition, OSHA may seek to conduct followup inspections to determine whether previous violations have been corrected.
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