No business owner is thrilled by the idea of a surprise OSHA inspection. As soon as that inspector walks in your door, you start thinking of all the possible things they can find and the hefty bill that can come with it. While you may have every intention of having a safe workplace, things can easily be overlooked in daily business operations. A solid system for tracking asset maintenance, inspections, and safety is key to avoid OSHA fines and organize inspection records.
Why is OSHA compliance difficult?
There are two main reasons why compliance with OSHA regulations is difficult. First, some businesses see OSHA fines as something that comes with operating a business. Second, many businesses have their maintenance, inspection, and safety tasks and tracking spread across several employees using a paper or spreadsheet system that doesn’t allow for visibility, accountability, and easy integration.
For example, say you have a dump truck on a job site where you use paper systems. Your maintenance team will have the paper records for regular maintenance, the daily truck driver will have the paper records for inspections, and your safety officer may have the records for reported safety issues and necessary repairs. An OSHA inspector will not only inspect your job site but also request all of those records. Some records likely got lost on their way to data entry or due to employee turnover, and without proof of proper maintenance and inspection, you’ll be facing a violation and potentially a fine depending on the severity. The most severe fine can reach up to $136,532 per violation.
This doesn’t have to be the way!
Avoiding OSHA Fines is Good for Business
You measure profit and revenue, production, and job costing, but safety and maintenance are not always included. There’s the obvious benefit of not having to pay a fine, but the additional benefit is properly maintaining your assets. If you have a million-dollar piece of equipment and it’s not being taken care of, you’re looking at lost production time, potential damages, and a hit to your bottom line. Continuing with our dump truck example, the brakes started squeaking and the paper system failed along the way so it didn’t get reported and fixed. You could have addressed the issue in a timely manner when it worked best for your business and job schedule, instead, the brakes go out in the middle of an important job when you don’t have a backup plan. Yes, sometimes these things just happen, but they can often be avoided.
How to Avoid OSHA Fines
Our number one tip for avoiding OSHA fines is to create a system and a protocol that is not on paper and allows for visibility across all your employees responsible for an asset. This tip alone will go a long way in preventing the OSHA inspection in the first place, but it will also shorten the length of an inspection. Instead of having an inspector on-site for three days, it could be more like a few hours because you can easily hand them all your safety and inspection records when requested.
How to Organize Inspection Records
So, how do you actually implement a system that isn’t on paper and allows for cross-team collaboration and reporting like this? Redlist is an all-in-one solution that can be configured specifically to your needs. This means that you can customize the system to whatever assets you need to track and their particular maintenance and safety measures. As a digital solution, it allows for your separate teams to assign and manage maintenance tasks and easily track their completion and results. This transforms your inspection records from being slow and unreliable due to paper processes and data entry to being reliable and right at your fingertips.
An OSHA inspection will never be enjoyable, but it can be shorter, smoother, and have better results. Showing your inspector that you have taken the initiative to properly maintain assets and track safety and inspection records can make a big difference for your company. The benefits of avoiding OSHA fines far outweigh the investment in organizing your inspection records.