OSHA Ethics and Records
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OSHA Ethics and Records

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A presentation from the 15th Annual VOSH conference regarding record keeping for when the OSHA or VOSH inspector comes to your construction site.

A presentation from the 15th Annual VOSH conference regarding record keeping for when the OSHA or VOSH inspector comes to your construction site.

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  • 1. Occupational Safety and Health Law –Ethical Considerations
    Presented by:
    Christopher G. Hill
    The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill, PC
    chrisghill@constructionlawva.com
    christopherhill-law.com
  • 2. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    Record Keeping
    OSHA Form 300 (Detailed)
    OSHA Form 300A (Summary)
  • 3. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    Types of Injuries
    Death
    Loss of consciousness
    Days away
    Restricted Work
    Medical Treatment
  • 4. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    Audits, Audits, Audits
    Access to Medical/Exposure Records
    Emergency Nos. Posted?
    OSHA 300 Log?
  • 5. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    Audits (Contd)
    Notice Poster?
    Compliance Policies?
    Training?
  • 6. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    Keep Records
  • 7. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
  • 8. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    VOSHA Inspections
    Employers are required to submit to inspections conducted by VOSHA compliance officers.
    Inspections are almost always conducted without notice.
    VOSHA is free to “inspect, investigate and take samples during regular working hours and at other reasonable times and in a reasonable manner.”
  • 9. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    What Triggers a VOSHA Inspection?
    Most VOSHA inspections may be placed in different categories based on the reason for the inspection:
    • Imminent Danger Inspection
    • 10. Inspections After Fatality or Accident
    • 11. Inspections Based on Employee Complaint
    • 12. Generally Scheduled or Programmed Inspections
    • 13. Follow up Inspections
  • ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    What Should an Employer Do When VOSHA Shows Up?
    VOSHA has no right to inspect your workplace without your consent or a search warrant – but the option of requesting a warrant should be used with great caution and only in rare situations.
    Ask the compliance officer what brings him or her there. It is your right to know what caused the compliance officer to come to your premises.
  • 14. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    What Should an Employer Do When VOSHA Shows Up?
    Always ask to see the Compliance Officer’s credentials
    Employers should have a plan in place as to who will meet with VOSH during an inspection
  • 15. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    The Opening Conference
    Compliance Officer explains the reasons for and the scope of the inspection – if he/she does not, ask.
    If the inspection is based on an employee complaint, ask for a copy of the complaint.
  • 16. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    The Opening Conferencecontinued…
    The Compliance Officer will ask if the employees are represented by a union –if so, the officer will request the employer arrange for the union to be represented in the Opening Conference.
    The employer should be honest with the Compliance Officer and cooperate to the extent possible without compromising the employer’s rights or admitting any wrongdoing.
  • 17. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    Review Of Documents
    The Compliance Officer will check posting and recordkeeping practices:
    Maintained records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
    Posted the OSHA 300A form for the proper time period.
    Prominently displayed the VOSHA “It’s the Law” poster.
    May ask to look at other records required to be maintained (i.e. medical exposure records, hazard communication program).
    Any notice required by ARM Section 40.
    It is important to have the documents readily available and well-organized – displays level of competence.
  • 18. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    The Walk Around
    Remain with the Compliance Officer at all times.
    Pick the best route to take Compliance Officer where he/she wants to go.
    Take notes of areas the Compliance Officer is reviewing and anything that is said.
  • 19. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    The Walk Aroundcontinued…
    Identify any trade secrets and they will be kept confidential by the VOSHA.
    Photograph anything the Compliance Officer photographs.
    If the Compliance Officer points out a violation, correct it immediately (if possible) but do not admit wrongdoing.
  • 20. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    Employee Interviews
    State regulations give VOSHA the right “to question privately any such employer, owner, operator, agent or employee.” Va. Code §40.1-49.8(2).
    With managerial employees, the employer has an absolute right to be present.
    With non-managerial employees, the decision is the employee’s –VOSHA does not always agree.
  • 21. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    The Closing Conference
    Compliance Officer will summarize the results of inspection and indicate what citations may be issued.
    Take notes of any statements made by the Compliance Officer during the inspection.
    Do not admit any wrongdoing.
    A separate closing conference may be held with the employee representative.
  • 22. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    Inspections – Summary of What an Employer Should Do
    Train the initial contact person (e.g. a receptionist) on what to do and who to contact when VOSHA arrives.
    Create a file for each inspection to include all notes, photographs and other data.
    Maintain a polite and honest relationship with the Compliance Officer – demonstrate pride in the company’s safety program.
  • 23. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    Inspections – Summary of What an Employer Should Do continued…
    Be attentive during inspections. What you learn and hear may be invaluable in defending against a citation.
    Train persons who will be available to respond when VOSHA arrives to conduct an inspection.
    Never admit wrongdoing.
  • 24. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    Contesting Citations
    Employers have 15 working days from receipt of a citation to contest it in writing. If not contested … citation becomes a final binding order.
    Employers may contest the penalty, the abatement date, the characterization of the violation (i.e. willful, repeat, etc.) or the citation itself.
    VOSHA refers the contested citation to the appropriate Commonwealth Attorney who files a complaint in Circuit Court.
  • 25. ©2010, Christopher G. Hill,
    All rights reserved
    Contesting Citationscontinued…
    Once the Circuit Court rules, either party may appeal the ruling to the Virginia Court of Appeals.
    Employers may also request an “informal conference” to try and settle the case – this does not extend the time period to file the notice of contest.
  • 26. Occupational Safety and Health Law –Ethical Considerations
    Presented by:
    Christopher G. Hill
    The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill, PC
    chrisghill@constructionlawva.com
    christopherhill-law.com