While you can't prevent OSHA inspectors from showing up at your door, you can be prepared for them. A look at OSHA's annual top 10 list of most frequently cited safety and health standards gives you an idea of where inspectors are focused and provides a starting point to examine how your company's compliance program measures up.
While there are trouble spots unique to each standard, training is one area in which OSHA finds violations across general industry and construction. The lockout/tagout standard has three different levels of training, depending on employees' duties and whether they are considered "authorized," "affected," or "other" under 1910.147. Authorized employees need the most training, other employees the least.
Training plays a major role in hazard communication (HazCom). Employers must train all employees prior to their first exposure to a hazardous chemical and retrain them when new or different chemicals are introduced, or when there are changes in the way the chemicals are used.
The powered industrial truck (PIT) standard requires employers to train operators on all the types of PIT equipment they operate. Employers often fail to provide equipment-specific training and instead allow workers with only forklift training to operate other types of PIT.
OSHA also has been cracking down on training on fall protection in construction. Training must be provided to all employees who might be exposed to fall hazards, and it must both enable employees to recognize the hazards of falling and understand how to minimize these hazards.
In all instances, training must be provided in a format and language that employees understand. Also, keep in mind that OSHA requires temporary employees to have the same training as any other employees if they are exposed to the same hazards.