How to Prepare for an OSHA Audit

How to Prepare for an OSHA Audit

Simply reading the term ‘OSHA inspections’ is enough to frustrate or worry managers, business owners, and professionals across diverse industries. The good thing is you can manage this stress by taking good initiative managing the inspection by getting yourself ready before, during, and after the inspection. 

So how to prepare for an OSHA audit? By doing simple things like performing hazard and safety assessments, as well as preparing your staff, you can get a head start to acing the inspection.

With the right preparation and outlook, you can erase all negative feelings that you have towards OSHA inspections. At the end of the day, the whole point of an OSHA inspection is to clarify the safety diameters within your industry to maintain the well-being of your team members and employees. To ensure your business can tackle this audit the right way, you have to prepare beforehand. As a safety professional, you are required to be prepared so you and your industry can reap the benefits of a safe workplace.

What can I expect from An OSHA audit?

To know what your audit stands for, you need to know what to expect. OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration and is a part of the United States Department of Labor. It works to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for employees by enforcing and creating standards. It also provides assistance, education, training, and outreach to promote safe workspaces.

It is important to remember that OSHA rarely gives out advance notice before they decide you inspect your workspace. By always expecting the unexpected, you can be fully prepared when the audit happens. To assume that OSHA will skip over your business because other places deserve an inspection more than you is not going to lead you anywhere. This is wishful thinking and it leaves many businesses unprepared for when the inspection does take place.

The first part of the inspection is when a certified inspector comes to your workplace. Usually, they show their credentials but if they delay this, then you can request to see their credentials before you allow them in your workplace. 

You can show them into the waiting or reception area while you notify your employees, managers, and any other related parties about their presence. If you have any doubts about the validity of the inspector, you can always call your local area’s OSHA director to be certain.

You will find that most OSHA audits follow a pretty similar pattern. This includes the opening conference, a walkaround, and then a closing conference. OSHA usually completes its audits within the first 6 months of the start date. 

That is why it is smart to be prepared for them to return any day within those 6 months. This depends on if they have the necessary reason to do so. But at the same time, these drawn-out audits are rare. The audit usually lasts for a few days before it is completed.

Who Exactly Does OSHA Audit?

How to Prepare for an OSHA Audit

OSHO scans the most dangerous sites within your workspace and focuses all of its efforts there. It will also reach out to companies whose workers have filed official complaints or referrals generated by agencies, media, or organizations for companies. 

In other words, it is safe to assume that OSHA is most likely to inspect places where safety regulations are crucial to adhere to although they have the right to inspect any part of your business for safety compliances.

OSHA knows the industries which put employees most at risk. This is because all businesses no matter how big or small have to report their fatalities and serious injuries to OSHA directly. A good example of this is construction workers who have high-risk jobs and have the most incidents of deaths occurring in the industry. This is why construction worksites are a major potential place for an OSHA audit.

How to prepare for an OSHA Audit

Prepping for an audit is just as important as going through the actual audit. Below are some of the ways you can prepare for an expected or random OSHA audit:

1. Perform Hazard Assessments before the Audit

OSHA is required to test employers to see if they can perform a job hazard analysis. This is usually for any and every type of job that the employees do in the workspace. According to OSHA, the definition of the term “hazard” means potential for harm. This means that hazards can happen at any point and can take many forms. 

Depending on the industry, these hazards may vary. A job hazard analysis consists of OSHA identifying what type of hazards can exist on a job site and how exactly the employers deal with these hazards to reduce them.

OSHA needs to ask you about this because this gives them a better view of how you identify hazards at the workplace or job site before they happen. This mainly focuses on the environment of the workers, the workers themselves, the tools used and the task to be completed. 

The proper answer to give for a hazard assessment is to ensure you take the necessary steps to decrease hazards to a minimum level or to eliminate them completely. Managing all this before an OSHA inspection will help you with your inspection when the time comes.

2. Perform Safety Trainings before the OSHA audit

The OSHA inspector coming to you is likely to check if your employees have learned the proper safety training to do tasks safely. In regards to this, your employee safety training should be updated meaning safety certificates for your employee should be recently achieved and current.

All in all, you may need to provide proof that shows that your employees have completed the latest safety training as it is highly unlikely that the OSHA inspector is going to check every employer. One way of making your job easy is to get safety training online. 

This gives you digital results readily and motivates employees to follow their safety training at their own pace. This gives higher completion rates and more retention.

3. Keep Records for OSHA Audits

You can prepare well for an OSHA inspection by keeping daily records of your work.  Your OSHA inspector is likely to see your records, reports, and other various pieces of information. By presenting these documents in an organized and easy way, you increase the chances of passing. This also echoes your company’s devotion to safety protocol.

Keeping records of every training course that your employee completes is a good way to start. Also, ensure that the employees working under you know safety policies and where you applied them throughout the facility. Something as little as getting your employees to sign to prove that they understand the safety policies goes a long way. You can do the same for completing training assessments. You can also have your employee complaints available along with the information stating you have handled and managed each complaint.

Some other documents to keep in mind at the time of your audit are insurance claims, worker compensation files, training records, and third-party audits.

4. Perform an Internal Audit before an OSHA Audit

Even though internal audits are hard to keep 100% bias-free, they do an excellent job at making you more aware of the workplace’s current safety standards before the OSHA inspector comes knocking at your door. Third-party audits not only are a great way to get feedback but they also show you the true success behind all the safety protocols you have invested in.

You can easily oversee internal audits, getting the important information you need to see how your safety program is doing. As a safety professional, you can find troubleshooting areas that could become potentially noncompliant that you had not gone through before. 

If you make internal audits a monthly or even a quarter-yearly thing, you will wind up feeling more confident if an OSHA inspector comes out of the blue.

5. Prepare employees for OSHA Audits

A crucial element to preparing yourself for the OSHA audits is to make sure your employees are prepared as well! This way you will not only make a good impression for future audits but receive a positive report as well. You can start by informing your employees about their rights during an OSHA inspection. 

An example of this can be; your employees do not have to speak to the OSHA inspector but they must answer honestly if and when they choose to reply. Another example is that your employees can deny the inspector from recording any conversations.

Employees can also ask the inspector to present the statement in their native language before they sign it. You can also make sure that your employees request a copy of the witness statement they sign. Your employees have the right to deny a request to sign the witness statement. You can educate your employees about signing any documents only if they have read through them to ensure that they are correct.\
How to Prepare for an OSHA Audit

Wrapping up

Preparing for an OSHA audit is hard work. Make your next audit easier by using Field 1st. By using Field 1st, you can go paperless in the field, reinforce best practices, and access real-time data. 

Why not keep all your reactive and proactive activities in one place, making collaboration and management an easy task for you and your team. Field 1st helps reduce your risk and increases business intelligence so you never have to worry about OSHA audits again.

5 Major Workplace Hazards and Prevention Tips

5 Major Workplace Hazards and Prevention Tips

If you work at a closed, controlled, and comfortable office, it may come off as a surprise to you that you, too, may potentially be exposed to workplace hazards. Workplace hazards are not always toxic fumes or acidic chemicals for miners or people working in large manufacturing plants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are thousands of reported accidents and injuries at offices every year. While you may not have to dodge a forklift while getting your morning coffee, office workers need to be aware of safety hazards, too.

The first step in preventing hazards at workplaces is awareness. This awareness does not just extend to becoming aware of your surroundings but also the hazards that you may be exposed to. This way, you may eliminate the chances of an injury occurring. 

The core job of HR management in most industrial and commercial office settings is to identify these hazards and offer plausible solutions. While some of these office accidents may be as minor as tripping or falling over a wet surface, others may include extreme noise hazards, electrical hazards, improper indoor air ventilation, and random acts of violence.

Ranging from ergonomic injuries to fire hazards, this article covers the 5 most common workplace hazards and suitable ways to prevent them.

Ergonomic Injuries

5 Major Workplace Hazards and Prevention Tips

Many people wonder how sitting at a desk for most of their day would lead to injuries. Well, our bodies require regular motion and the use of both upper and lower limbs to prevent muscle strain or spasms. With many people working tirelessly hunched over their laptops for hours on end, there is a fair increase in posture and spinal injuries. While this workplace hazard is most difficult to detect in its early stages, multiple steps could be taken to prevent its occurrence in the first place.


Make sure you stand up, stretch, and move around for a while after every 20 minutes of being seated in one position. If you have trouble keeping a track of time, set reminders on your phone for every 20 to 30 minutes. In the modern world, many of us own smartwatches, which remind you to stand up and move around if you have been sitting for longer than half an hour. 

When shopping for a computer/office chair, always prioritize your health and comfort. Do not worry about spending a great deal on the best quality chair as it is an investment that will go a long way!

Other tips to keep in mind when working for continuous hours hunched over your laptop include:

  • Adjust the seat of the chair in a way that your feet touch the ground firmly and your back is aligned with the backrest
  • Align the mouse and keyboard beside one another in a way that you do not have to reach out to grab either of them
  • Keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle when typing
  • Maintain a relaxed and neutral position

Additionally, if you are working from home on most days, invest in a standing desk so you do not have to sit in one position throughout the day.

Eye Strain

With technology being mankind’s best friend in the modern age, everybody seems to be spending most of their time on gadgets. Computers and laptops are most common in office settings. Workplaces nowadays even tend to conduct large-scale business meetings via an LED screen. 

This coupled with increased phone usage by the employees in their free time causes irritation and dryness in their eyes. Early symptoms of eye strain may also include redness of the eyes, a constant headache, and trouble focusing.


The best way to prevent your eyes from straining when looking at the computer screen is to adjust the brightness. With technological advancements, you can now easily switch between brightness levels and choose a yellow hue to prevent excessive straining. 

Workplaces that involve every person in the room to use computers or laptops should have relatively dimmer lighting than those places that require manual labor. Cutting down on the excessive glare caused by bright, white lights and daylight through large windows helps alleviate eye strain.

Furthermore, if you wear prescription glasses or think that there is a high risk of your eyes straining, we suggest using glasses with a blue-light filter. Other ways to reduce eye strain include increasing the computer font and positioning the monitors slightly below eye level.

Fire and Electrical Safety

The construction industry is at an equal risk of fire and electrical hazards. Industries spend billions of dollars to recover from almost fatal accidents involving fire and/or electricity every year. Fire and electrical hazards can cause a scene at practically any workplace. 

If you have an industrial plant, you likely have electrically conductive materials or those that catch fire easily lying around. Where a small spark could lead to massive fires, electric hazards could also be as minor as a mediocre electric shock or a large power breakdown.

While anyone could be at risk of a fire or electrical hazard, usually people whose daily jobs involve direct exposure to either of these are at a greater risk. According to a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2013, 148 workplaces were involved in fire and explosion accidents that year. 

Offices with lunchrooms that have microwaves or other electrical equipment may blow up due to voltage fluctuations and result in a fire. Similarly, wiring issues in wall sockets or extensions put its users at risk of electrocution.


The first step to the prevention of both fire and electrical hazards is to ensure that the higher bodies approve the machines, motors, and other tools for commercial use. Placing space heaters in a safe space away from conductive or combustive materials, such as paper, is also a means to prevent hazards at your workplace.

Portable fire extinguishers with clear instructions written on them should be placed in every office or work area. Furthermore, frequent drills should be carried out to train people regarding what should be done in case of a fire or electrical hazard. 

Routine checks and repair of electrical equipment throughout the workspace should be conducted to ensure the wiring is safe and there are less to nil chances of any employee being electrocuted.

Hiring only qualified employees to work near live electrical equipment in industrial plant settings further decreases the hazard risks.

Workspaces should invest in conducting frequent workshops to train employees about what needs to be done in case a fellow employee is electrocuted or gets burned due to a fire. Placing first aid kits throughout your office ensures immediate medical treatment for the employees in case of an accident. This reduces the severity of an accident and allows responsive treatment.

Indoor Air Quality

While the lungs are supposed to filter the air for you, consistently breathing in poor-quality air may lead to respiratory diseases, allergies, specific chemical sensitivities, and occupational asthma. Most offices are centrally air-conditioned with no room for fresh air. 

The lack of adequate ventilation, overcrowded spaces, mold growth, pesticide or toxic cleaning chemicals, and poor sanitation are considered workplace hazards that compromise indoor air quality.


The prevalence of an unsanitary environment is probably one of the easiest workplace hazards to prevent. Proper cleaning and maintenance of the desks and other furniture prevent dust allergies and occupational asthma. 

Similarly, regular filtration of ventilators, cleaning of the crooks and edges of walls to prevent mold growth, and deep cleaning of air conditioners or heaters also prevents severe respiratory illnesses.

Another way to prevent hazards at a workplace is by limiting the use of pesticides and keeping the indoor environment clean enough that it does not warrant frequent fumigation services. However, if fumigation is necessary, make sure your office is thoroughly sanitized and ventilated to prevent pesticide particles in the air. 

Cleanliness of the carpeted floors, restrooms, breakrooms, refrigerators, and lunch areas should be maintained. This limits the spread of infectious diseases and other illnesses.

Slips and Falls

Cluttered spaces, exposed cords on the floor, loose carpeting, uneven flooring, unstable work surfaces, unattended spills, and wet floors are the usual culprits of slipping or tripping accidents. Other causes of a trip or a fall include rough weather conditions. 

Rainy and snowy conditions result in outdoor slip hazards. Wet or snow-covered outdoor floorings, steps, entry and exits, walkways, ramps, and parking lots add to the risks of workplace hazards. In most cases, people even tend to carry rainwater or snow inside the workplace due to wet shoes and outerwear.


In rainy or snowy conditions, lay dry mats or rugs on the entrance for employees to dry off their shoes before entering the office space. This way, not only would you be ensuring a clean environment but also be preventing wet patches on the floor that may cause someone to slip and fall. Placing coat racks in the rainy or snowy season at the entrance also ensures the indoor workplace remains dry and safe.

Preventing hazards outside your workplace in rainy seasons could include using non-slip runners and sprinkling chemicals that melt the ice quickly. Placing caution signs near wet surfaces and safely tucking away electrical cords also avoid tripping accidents.

Final thoughts

 5 Major Workplace Hazards and Prevention Tips

Minimizing or even eliminating workplace hazards is neither too expensive nor time-consuming if done the right way. The key is to be aware of potential hazards and work in association with your peers to make your workplace a safe and comfortable place for all employees. 

Once you invest in training your employees regarding first aid and emergency drills, regular maintenance of electrical equipment, and adequate ventilation at your workspace, you will notice drastic progress in employee activity and revenue generation. 

Prepare and protect your people from harm. Everyday. Reduce your ongoing job-related risks with job hazard assessment tools and bring daily safety defense training to the field. Contact Field 1st for a free consultation today!