OSHA Audits

Prepared for OSHA Audits?

OEHS, Inc. can perform comprehensive Industrial Hygiene audits to assist companies in preparing for potential OSHA audits. The three-part process enables companies to identify preemptive steps they can take to address potential problems and possibly avoid costly fines and citations.

OEHS, Inc. will:

1. Review available data to design a sampling strategy that will evaluate personal and area exposures to airborne contaminants.

2. Collect and analyze samples required for the assessment of the selected operations as defined by the client.

3. Prepare a comprehensive report which will include the analytical results and an interpretation of their significance, as well as recommendations for control measure and possible further testing.

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

The declared national purpose of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 is to “assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” The federal government is authorized to develop and set mandatory occupational safety and health standards applicable to any business affecting interstate commerce. The responsibility for promulgating and enforcing occupational safety and health standards rests with the Department of Labor.

The OSHA standard has brought a restructuring of programs and activities relating to safeguarding the health of the worker. Uniform occupational health regulations now apply to all businesses engaged in commerce, regardless of their locations within the jurisdiction.

The 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act has clearly defined procedures for promulgating regulations, conducting investigations for compliance, and handling availability of exposure data on workers, and keeping of records.

Nearly every employer – those with more than 10 employees – is required to implement some element of an Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Health or Hazard Communication program, to be responsive to OSHA and its health regulations or those of another regulatory agency.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act has established a set of criteria that the employer will use in protecting employees against health hazards and harming materials.

The Secretary of Labor in promulgating standards dealing with toxic materials or harmful physical agents under this subsection of the OSHAct, shall set the standard, which most adequately assures to the extent feasible, on the basis of the best available evidence, that no employee will suffer material impairment of health or functional capacity even if such employee has regular exposure to the hazard dealt with by such standard for the period of his or her working life.

Basically, this establishes guidelines to make certain that such standards contain all of the substantive data that relate to the issue or subject covered by the standards so that the employer and employees can better understand compliance requirements.

When appropriate, such standards must also prescribe suitable protection equipment and control or technological procedures to be used in connection with such hazards and must provide for monitoring or measuring employee exposure at such locations and intervals; both are to be performed as necessary for protection of employees.

Where appropriate, any such standard shall also prescribe the type and frequency of medical examinations or other tests that shall be made available, by the employer or at no cost to employees exposed to such hazards in order to determine most effectively whether the health of such employees is adversely affected by such exposures.

The OSHAct also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employee exposures to potentially toxic materials or harmful physical agents that are required to be monitored or measured, provide employees or their representatives with an opportunity to observe such monitoring or measuring and to have access to these records, and make appropriate provisions for each employee or former employee to have access to records indicating the employee’s exposure to toxic or harmful physical agents.

In addition, the standard’s requirements stipulate that each employer shall promptly notify any employee who has been or is being exposed to toxic materials or harmful physical agents in concentrations, or at levels, that exceed those prescribed by any standard, and (the employer) must inform any employee who is being thus exposed of the corrective action being taken.

The employer should be aware that the OSHAct regulations covering occupational health also deal with environmental controls. These regulations deal with air contaminants (gases, fumes, vapors, dusts, and mists) noise, and ionizing radiation. Employers whose operations deal with any of these exposures must become familiar with Industrial Hygiene and safety concepts and controls.