What to Do When Federal Inspectors Pop In

By Terry Dortch

A recent report of the Occu­pa­tion­al Health and Safe­ty Admin says the fed­er­al agency’s inspec­tions can save deal­er­ships mon­ey. The report says OSHA inspec­tions not only pre­vent work­ers from get­ting hurt on the job, but also save bil­lions of dol­lars for employ­ers through reduced work­ers’ com­pen­sa­tion costs.

This research indi­cates:

  • Work­place-injury claims dropped 9.4% in the four years fol­low­ing an inspec­tion.
  • Inspect­ed com­pa­nies real­ized a 26% aver­age sav­ings on work­ers’ com­pen­sa­tion costs com­pared with sim­i­lar, non-inspect­ed com­pa­nies.
  • Inspec­tions trans­late into a $355,000 aver­age sav­ings for an employ­er, small or large.

Here are some take­aways:

  • Staff train­ing and self-audits pre­pare a deal­er­ship for a suc­cess­ful OSHA audit. Pre­emp­tive OSHA audit-com­pli­ance reviews are mea­sur­able invest­ments for deal­ers.
  • Fines for deal­er­ships audit­ed and found in vio­la­tion of OSHA’s many com­pli­ance man­dates can be up to $90,000 per vio­la­tion.
  • Deal­ers who often mis­tak­en­ly believe they are com­ply­ing with OSHA are sur­prised when an audit shows oth­er­wise. One way to be cer­tain the deal­er­ship is in com­pli­ance and posi­tioned to avoid or min­i­mize penal­ties and fines is to make OSHA com­pli­ance manda­to­ry.
  • The agency’s inspec­tors rarely announce their vis­its. They want to catch any slop­pi­ness or over­sight in action. Audit activ­i­ty has inten­si­fied since the recent reces­sion. Peri­od­ic com­pli­ance audits by qual­i­fied third-par­ty audi­tors can help iden­ti­fy any safe­ty and health risks before OSHA does.
  • OSHA makes employ­ers respon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing safe and health­ful work­places and sets cer­tain stan­dards to help ensure that.
  • OSHA might vis­it for any num­ber of rea­sons, includ­ing work­er com­plaints, a high num­ber of report­ed injuries or ill­ness­es, repeat vio­la­tions, a cat­a­stroph­ic event or, as men­tioned, a ran­dom sur­prise inspec­tion.

For­mer auto deal­er Ter­ry Dortch is pres­i­dent of and can be reached at [email protected]. to find out what to look for and cor­rect before OSHA arrives or an event occurs.

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