Will OSHA use my documentation against me?
December 18, 2014 by Eric Schmitz
Posted in: Environmental Health and Safety
Tags: Dealership, documentation, OSHA
Clients frequently ask, “can my own OSHA documentation be used against me?” KPA receives this question frequently, and as such, myKPAonline is programmed to document your hazards correctly as well as to note your documentation’s deficiencies.
Unfortunately there is occasional risk that your records may be used against you by OSHA, as noted by the following federal OSHA policy document on the subject:
“OSHA will not:
Routinely request self-audit reports at the initiation of an inspection, Use self-audit reports, (including 3rd party reports), as a means of identifying hazards upon which to focus during an inspection.
Where a voluntary self-audit identifies a hazardous condition, and the employer promptly undertakes appropriate measures to correct the violative condition and to provide interim employee protection, but has not completely corrected the violative condition when an OSHA inspection occurs, the Agency will treat the audit report as evidence of good faith, and not as evidence of a willful violation of the Act.”
This particular part policy is clear-cut and reasonable. OSHA does not want to discourage you from completing or documenting inspections. That being said, there is a scenario that the policy does not address i.e., when an issue is documented as needing correction, but correction has not been taken. It is imperative that dangerous issues that are brought to your attention are addressed immediately. OSHA does not suggest that all issues can be remediated immediately, but instead is suggesting that interim action can be taken to prevent accidents until the hazard can be fully remediated. For example hazardous equipment may be taken out of service, or dangerous areas may be marked “No Entry.”
With that in mind, please understand that in addition to the OSHA policy on the subject, KPA services more than 4,000 automotive related businesses. Since 1986 we have had only one instance of KPA’s documentation being used against a Client by OSHA.