OHSA conducted 24,333 workplace inspections in 2021. If an OHSA inspection officer comes knocking on your door tomorrow, will you feel prepared?
An unexpected OSHA inspection can lead to major consequences for your business, including hefty fines and even forced shutdowns. Luckily, there are many things that fleet managers and service truck operators can do to prepare for OSHA inspections and prevent OSHA violations.
In this blog post, we’ll share a checklist to help ensure that your work vehicles comply with OSHA regulations, plus ten practical things you can do to reduce the likelihood of an OSHA inspection and improve fleet safety. Let’s get started.
What is an OSHA Inspection?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency that sets and enforces workplace safety standards in the United States. An OSHA inspection is an evaluation of a business’ workplace safety practices, equipment, and processes to ensure compliance with OHSA regulations and requirements.
About the OSHA Inspection Process
The OSHA inspection process can be stressful for business owners, as the inspection is usually unexpected. The process typically starts with an OSHA compliance officer arriving at the workplace or worksite unannounced. The OSHA officer will then conduct a walkthrough of the facility or work vehicle to inspect equipment, documentation, and employee training records. In some cases, the inspection process will also include employee interviews or equipment testing to ensure compliance with OSHA standards.
OSHA Inspection Checklist for Commercial Vehicles & Trucks
OSHA has many regulations pertaining to work vehicles. Here’s a checklist to help drivers and fleet managers prepare for an OSHA inspection and avoid violations:
1. Make sure you have properly installed all the required lamps, hazard lights, and reflective devices outlined in the OSHA code. Note: Driveaway-towaway hauls must meet specific lighting requirements in addition to the basics for towing vehicles.
2. Check all your lights and lamps. Make sure they are operable, not flickering, and not obstructed by your load, tailboard, or dirt.
3. If you have a trailer, make sure you have the required retroreflective sheeting and reflex reflectors properly positioned.
4. Make sure that your hazard warning signals work independently of the ignition switch.
5. Check battery installations to ensure they are covered, enclosed, secure, and compliant with ventilation, drainage, grounding, and separation requirements.
6. For commercial vehicles, ensure that you have brakes acting on all wheels and that they are adequate for stopping and holding.
7. Check specific system requirements for service brakes, parking brakes, emergency brakes, and interconnected brake systems.
8. For trucks and truck tractors, make sure you’re equipped with a warning signal for brake system failures.
9. Ensure compliance with fuel system standards, including proper positioning of fuel systems and secure installation.
10. Check specific requirements for compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel containers and liquefied petroleum gas, if applicable.
11. Ensure cargo is secured and properly contained to prevent cargo from shifting and affecting the vehicle’s stability and maneuverability.
Important note: This is not an exhaustive list. OSHA requirements vary depending on the specific type and age of the vehicles in your fleet, as well as your line of work, so be sure to check relevant OSHA codes for the latest information!
OSHA Ladder Inspection
Ladders are widely used across many different industries and can be a source of workplace injuries if they are not regularly inspected and maintained. In fact, ladder violations were among the top five most frequently cited OSHA standard violations in 2021.
To avoid a violation, check your ladders regularly for defects, follow proper weight limits, and use secure positioning. Fleet managers should inspect ladders regularly and train employees on ladder safety.
10 Ways to Prevent OSHA Inspections & Violations
- Provide adequate safety equipment. Regularly inspect all safety equipment and replace it as necessary.
- Create and enforce safety policies. Policies should include employee safety training programs.
- Conduct regular safety inspections and audits. Inspections should include a thorough check of all vehicle components, including safety belts, lighting, warning devices, and any other safety-related equipment.
- Regularly train employees on safety protocols. Protocols should cover everything from safe driving practices to proper vehicle maintenance – really any aspect of their job that could be a workplace safety hazard.
- Maintain accurate records, including employee safety training records, safety inspection reports, accident reports, and maintenance logs.
- Partner with a reputable maintenance provider. Maintenance providers should be familiar with OSHA regulations so they can help inspect vehicles and maintain them to meet safety standards.
- Leverage technology to monitor safety. Onboard cameras or telematics can be used to monitor safety and address potential issues before they become serious hazards.
- Ensure proper handling of hazardous materials. OSHA has strict regulations for transporting, storing, handling, and disposing of hazardous materials.
- Maintain a culture of safety. Overall, make sure that employee safety is a core value for your business, and make all your decisions with workplace safety in mind. Encourage or incentivize employees to report safety concerns so that everyone is working towards the same goal.
- Don’t forget about DOT regulations and inspections! OSHA inspections aren’t the only ones to worry about – the Department of Transportation conducts safety inspections too, including roadside inspections.
Improving Your Fleet Safety with Pacific Truck Colors
If you’re looking for a vehicle repair, maintenance, or installation company that is familiar with OSHA and DOT requirements, look no further than Pacific Truck Colors! We’ll ensure your work vehicles are fully equipped and compliant so that you don’t have to stress about the consequences of an unexpected OSHA inspection.