The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a part of the US Department of Labor, and it is their job to ensure all employees in the US work in safe, clean, and appropriate work environment. As part of its mission, your small business may be subjected to a complaint from OSHA for the conditions in your workplace. There are a variety of reasons your business might get a complaint, such as having tripping hazards in your workplace and not working to correct it, or improper training for equipment or handling toxic chemicals. The following will provide instructions on how best to handle an OSHA complaint should you happen to receive one.
Know OSHA Standards
Upon receiving a complaint from OSHA, the first thing you should do is visit the website of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and look through their guidelines and standards. This will help you to determine the reason for the complaint as well as how best to correct it. It can be something that is easy to fix, such as having tripping hazards in your warehouse that you can remove and be sure to keep out of areas where employees frequent. While correcting it on your own won’t get rid of the complaint, it can help you be aware of the OSHA standards and be able to get through the inspection easily.
Decide if the OSHA Complaint is Valid
Upon reviewing the OSHA standards and guidelines, you should be able to determine if the OSHA complaint against your business is valid. If you find that it is indeed valid, you can move on to correcting the matter and having your inspection. However, some complaints are not valid and can be easily proven. Even if it is not valid, you should prepare for responding to the complaint as well as getting an inspection from OSHA to be sure your workplace is up to their standards for health and safety.
Respond to the Complaint
Following a complaint from OSHA, you;ll have five business days to respond. When responding to an OSHA complaint, repeat what the conditions are that are being held against you, and what you have done or will do to correct the issues. If it’s invalid, you should also include this information in your response. When addressing your resolution to the complaint, be detailed in the steps you will make in order to improve the conditions of your workplace to make it safer for employees.
Correct the Issues Stated in the Complaint
If you have not done so already, you must correct the issues stated in the complaint. It is your responsibility to offer your employees a safe and healthy work environment, so this is an important step not only to pass inspection, but to give your employees a good place to work.
Prepare for an OSHA Inspection
After responding to the complaint and correcting the issues, your complaint may be closed by OSHA if they feel that you are making the proper steps towards an appropriate work environment. However, some complaints require further inspection from an OSHA representative. Before the inspection, be sure that your workplace is safe, and that the issues in the complaint are corrected. You should also walk through your business premises to be sure everything is in working order.
Having a complaint from OSHA can be a frustrating experience, especially if it causes you to realize you are not providing the right work conditions for your employees. Use it as a way to improve your work environment. Whether or not the complaint is valid, it helps to review the OSHA guidelines and be sure your workplace is up to code for your employees.