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January-February-2015

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30 PalletCentral • January-February 2015 palletcentral.com ecently I was asked why it seemed that OSHA was inspecting a certain pallet manufacturing company on nearly an annual basis, given that OSHA has no mandatory inspection schedule. I responded that there are a multitude of reasons why OSHA can darken your door. The visit may be triggered by events, what is known as an "unprogrammed" inspection. These include: (1) a fatality or catastrophic event (you've had an accident that resulted in the death of a worker, or hospitalization of three or more persons, and had to call OSHA to report the event); (2) a hazard complaint by a current employee to OSHA; (3) a complaint made to OSHA by a current or former employee, alleging that they were retaliated against because they raised a safety concern or engaged in other protected safety activity (this is an investigation under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act, the "whistleblower protection" provision, and normally does not involve a safety/health inspection of the worksite); (4) a "professional referral" by a state consultation program representative, reporting that you did not correct a condition that they found during one of their "voluntary" inspections, or someone from another agency (EPA, USDA) observed a safety or health violation and called OSHA; or, (5) an "imminent danger" is spotted by an agency representative through your gate (e.g., someone can be seen standing on a high stack of pallets without fall protection). There are also a few types of "programmed" inspections that can trigger an OSHA visit. The first is when an employer falls within the site-specific targeting program, which involves being in a high SAFETY R Why is OSHA Knocking at my Door By Adele L. Abrams, Esq., CMSP

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