Random OSHA Inspections Improve Safety in the Workplace

Random OSHA inspections were shown in a recent study to decrease injuries and costs in the workplace.According to a study lead by Michael Toffel, an environmental management expert at Harvard Business School, random OSHA inspections improve workplace safety. Since 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been committed to ensuring the safety of American workers. OSHA is responsible for enforcing workplace safety standards, and most safety inspections are conducted by the agency or an OSHA approved state agency. Safety consultants often provide Mock OSHA inspections also.

In many cases, OSHA inspections are not random occurrences. Toffel suggests companies tend to address the issue associated with their complaint then relapse to the circumstances that initiated the situation after the inspection is completed.

OSHA Inspections Drastically Lower Injuries and Costs

Toffel researched the safety and worker’s compensation complaint records of the California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health (CAL/OSHA). CAL/OSHA conducts some of its OSHA inspections randomly. Toffel and his team compared companies that had undergone random inspections to companies eligible for inspection but had not yet been selected.

Results of the study show companies randomly inspected experienced a 9% decrease in workplace injuries. Additionally, the cost of the injuries reported was reduced by 26%.  Toffel suggests the study proves randomized OSHA inspections work as they are meant to, improving safety while not undermining the company’s ability to do business. Mock OSHA Inspections by qualified companies, also tangibly reduce costs in additional ways. Mock OSHA audits reveal deficiencies in training and reporting. Corrective actions can lower total cost of compliance avoiding penalties and fines for egregious violations.

Many consulting organizations will offer “mock-OSHA” inspections where they will engage a client and perform inspections of job sites, plants or workplaces. The mock-agents then deliver a report of any violations in a itemized report and then work with the company to remediate the possible violations.

An overview of the study conducted by Toffel and his team titled, Randomized Government Safety Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries with No Detectable Job Loss can be accessed from, http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/06.28.12_levine.pdf

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