How to prepare for an OSHA inspection

Published April 04, 2019

Capture-1An OSHA Compliance Services Overview, available to Sylvia Group clients through MyWave Connect, can help your business avoid costly penalties due to safety and record-keeping violations. 

Business Insurance Account Executive

Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations regarding workplace safety requires investments of time and money, and it can be expensive. It can also save you a lot of money, as well as a lot of heartache.

Ultimately, complying with OSHA standards is simply good business.


The costs of workplace injuries didn't end with workers' compensation. Since the start of 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), about 100 Massachusetts companies have been assessed OSHA penalties of $40,000 or more, the most expensive fine costing a Wenham construction company $294,500 for a combination of violations classified by OSHA as "serious," "willfull" and "repeat."

Increased inspections, more costly penalties

Earlier this year, the maximum federal penalty for most the most common classes of OSHA violations rose to $13,260. For willful or repeated violations, the new maximum climbed to $132,598.

And that isn't the only reason business costs due to OSHA violations are likely to rise.

JD Supra, an organization devoted to information about law and the legal industry, reports. "OSHA inspections and enforcement actions increased during 2017 and 2018. The average penalty amount assessed also increased. For example, the average penalty for serious violations increased from $3,645 in 2017 to $5,016 in 2018. The trend toward more enforcement and higher penalties is likely to continue in 2019."

This chart from MyWave Connect, a resource platform available to Sylvia Group Business Insurance and Employee Benefits clients, details OSHA's current maximum penalties.

OSHA penalties chart

Most-cited violations 

So what are the most common safety violations? Here are the 10 cited most frequently by OSHA during Fiscal Year 2018 (Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018):

  1. Fall protection, construction
  2. Hazard communication standard, general industry
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry
  6. Ladders, construction
  7. Powered industrial trucks, general industry
  8. Fall protection-training requirements
  9. Machinery and machine guarding, general requirements
  10. Eye and face protection.

For a more detailed look, here's the publication Safety+Health's report "OSHA's Top 10 Most Cited Violations" for fiscal year 2018.  

Resources for compliance and a free guide to OSHA inspections

At Sylvia Group, our Business Insurance service teams and claims professionals take a proactive approach to reducing workers' compensation costs and preventing OSHA violations, as Executive Vice President John Beauregard explained in his recent post about workers' comp mod analysis.

OSHA Inspections Guide_Page_1In addition to mod analysis and other cost-reducing services, the Sylvia Protection System (SPS) provides clients with risk management resources that enable them to create and maintain a safe workplace and assist them with OSHA reporting. One of these resources is Zywave's MyWave Connect portal, through which Sylvia Group Business Insurance and Employee Benefits clients have access to safety manuals, legislative updates, materials for internal communications, OSHA reporting tools and a guide to OSHA inspections.

The Zywave guide to OSHA inspections, which we're making available to non-Sylvia Group clients in this limited offer, will provide you with information including:

  • How OSHA inspections are scheduled;
  • What OSHA compliance officers have the authority to do during an inspection;
  • What takes place during an OSHA inspection, from officer arrival through closing conference.

To obtain a free copy of the guide, click on the image above.

To learn more about the Sylvia Protection System and our exclusive 360° Risk Navigator, contact me. Workers' compensation premiums and OSHA penalties can cripple a business. We can help yours operate more smoothly, safely and profitably.  


About Andrew Armstrong and Sylvia Group

Andrew Armstrong_641A fourth-generation partner in Sylvia Group, Andrew Armstrong analyzes employers' risks, exposures and goals to design customized programs of performance-based business insurance. Through an open discussion of their needs and budget, he works with clients to design coverage programs in a collaborative process that leaves them feeling better for the experience. As a Dartmouth native who has returned to the SouthCoast after going to school, working and living in Boston, Andrew is at home in both areas, as well as in the family business. Talk with him to learn what Sylvia Group can do to protect your business and provide security for you and your family.

Voted "Best Insurance Agency" in both years of the SouthCoast Media Best of the Best Awards program, Sylvia Group helps businesses and individuals protect their future by designing insurance, benefits and financial planning programs. We’re a locally owned agency known for our commitment to our clients and our community, as well for our industry expertise. Founded in New Bedford, MA, in 1950, headquartered in neighboring Dartmouth, and serving businesses and individuals throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and beyond, Sylvia Group is certified as a Woman Owned Business Enterprise with the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office and has the distinction of being the first six-time recipient of the Five Star designation awarded by the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents (MAIA) for all-around agency excellence. 

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