We are occasionally asked by a client what we think about the OSHA Consultation Program. This program is a free service geared to small businesses in high hazard industries. A consultant from the OSHA Consultation Office in your state will perform a comprehensive inspection or possibly a more limited service depending on the your company’s needs.
Businesses that are interested in seeing where they stand in their OSHA compliance efforts will often see this program as a way to make that determination.
There is one very important decision to make before scheduling a consultation. While it is true that the inspection itself is separate from OSHA enforcement activities and no penalties and citations are imposed, an employer must correct all imminent danger issues and serious hazards. Serious hazards are very common citations in programmed OSHA inspections. In fact they are the category of violation that is most-often used. The big choice before scheduling the consultation is to be make sure you are committed to the idea that all of the serious hazards must be corrected within a specific time frame. Failure to make the corrections could result in having the case turned over the OSHA Area Office for enforcement.
When we do a facility inspection and provide a list of hazards to clients, we recognize that with limited resources, priorities need to be made regarding corrective measures.Starting the consultation process may end up requiring you to spend the resources to correct risks that you might decide to manage in a different way.
We are not suggesting that the OSHA Consultation is of no value and should never be used. We simply want to make sure you know what your obligations are once you start the process.
Have you had an OSHA Consultation at your place of business? We would appreciate hearing how that experience went for you and your company.
Rich Galutia CSP specializes in the areas of employee safety (OSHA), trucking compliance (FMCSA) and animal feed safety (FDA).