OSHA Safety Audits: What is 29 CFR 1910 Audit?


Workplace safety is an essential component of manufacturing and industrial operations on-site. After a series of workplace injuries and mishaps, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established in 1970. Before implementing the regulatory laws, the data records of previous years until 1970 reflected around 11 illnesses per 100 workers and wherein the fatalities were registered to be around 14,000. 

The increasing dangers to human life on construction and manufacturing sites led to the adoption of safety protocols such as the 29 CFR 1910 regulations in the year 1970. The 29 CFR 1910 are General Industry Standards that need to be adhered to by organizations. The OSHA CFR 29 Rule has 20 subparts, covering various industrial operations such as cutting, welding, and brazing.

How to Implement the 29 CFR 1910 Audit Guidelines?

  1. A team of Internal Auditors is selected and becomes responsible for checking procedures related to safety protocols governed by the 29 CFR 1910 Audit report.
  2. Training sessions and demonstrations are organized for the OSHA auditors in case of an audit, with Routine Check-ups as a viable alternative.
  3. An evaluation of processes and materials outlined in the 29 CFR 1910 audit subparts for which OSHA provides an OSHA Self Audit Checklist to meet the audit prerequisites.
  4. This stage involves the Execution of the Procedure by conducting the audit and answering all the OSHA questions from the checklist. It is essential to match the list with those aligned with 29 CFR, which manual or automated decision-making can do.

The aid of an automated audit management software like Pulse can help hasten this process.

  1. Interviewing employees is another vital audit process component, and it helps to maintain a log of any hazard overlooked in the entire procedure.

Five-Step Answer to an Osha Inspection

The OSHA inspection can broadly have five key steps:

  1. Documentation
  2. Presentation of Credentials by the designated Inspector
  3. Opening Conference 
  4. Facility Walk-Through 
  5. A Final Closing Conference

Risk Handling at OSHA – OSHA Inspection Priority and Documentation

An audit involves a number of procedures, they are important to follow because it involves the plethora of rules involved in making the site free from dangers and violations. The steps are important to acknowledge to ensure a successful inspection.

1. Documentation

The first step towards preparing an audit is to ensure the availability of all the internal audit information. This step includes setting up a team of inner auditors to associate with the OSHA inspector.

Documentation containing information such as the training logs, record keeping, equipment inspection records, safety and health policies, insurance and third-party audits, hazard assessment and abatement review of previous audits, and citations should be kept ready for the auditors to go through.

Top Priority:

As per the 29 CFR 1910 Audit, Imminent Risks are a top priority with intermediate risks that fall below the category.

Intermediate Priority:

The sub-priority for OSHA is about the facilities handling the complaints. Anyone in the company or facility is free to file a complaint regarding health hazards and security, and the inspectors can then check the risks if the case demands.

Industries with higher risk rates are inspected routinely to ensure that they engage in good safety practices, also known as Programmed Instructions.

2. Presentation of Credentials – Opening Conference: Introduction of the external OSHA auditors 

This step involves the introduction of the Inspecting Officer, which is communicated to the designated employee. One must compile all data and OSHA logs containing information related to the employees and the OSHA checklist along with employee statistics beforehand for fast and efficient execution of the action.

3. The appointment of company employees

A team of company officials is appointed to carry out the process of the internal audit. The team is responsible for various check ups and safety drills before inspection.

4. Walk-Around

This step involves a guided tour around the company facilities with the Inspector, who examines the sites, processes, operations, equipment, machines, and devices to check whether they adhere to the norms laid out by OSHA. The inspector is to be escorted by the management or designated Internal Inspectors discussing the potential or existing risks and hazards. In case of violations, the matter is presented before the supervisor.

5. Closing Conference

During the closing conference, the workplace conditions and reports are reviewed and communicated to the employer or employee representative about the citations and the appeals grants. In instances of deviations from the OSHA regulations based on the observations made by the auditors, the report is laid down before the organization. However, the organization has the right to appeal against the outcome of the audit.

The auditors may also impose financial penalties on the organization for non-compliance with OSHA norms in this period.

How to meet the needs of OSHA?

The key to a good inspection round is adequate data collection before the deadlines. Centralized and effective storage data systems can help retrieve data for review, and Pulse is one such application that allows efficient data storage and organization. It is a 360-degree audit tool that helps in creating optimized and action-oriented checklists.

Performing routine internal audits also enhances the chances of passing an OSHA inspection. During internal audits, the use of Pulse helps match company data with the OSHA norms and arrange it comprehensively to enable the chances of finding and fixing loopholes before the arrival of an external inspector. It helps track data by keeping check of the hazardous chemical records by bridging the gap between the subparts of 29 CFR and all the organizational information. 

Lastly, opting for a centralised data application which can efficiently manage data and audit procedures can simplify the process. Pulse is one such app which offers this facility. Not only does it handle information efficiently but also narrows down the work of the organisation. 

The Price of OSHA Violations

Osha penalties increase with the severity of the violations, and they are adjusted according to the inflation rates in the economy. The amount of money charged varies according to the type of violation, and the penalty for serious violations is $975 per violation, with the maximum quantum reaching upto $13,653.

For other-than-serious violations, the minimum is $0, and the maximum is $13,653. For willful or repeated violations, the minimum is $9,753 and a maximum of $136,532. The charges depend on the severity of the violation and are set in accordance and agreement with the OSHA subparts.

For repeated non-serious violations that would not have a penalty, OSHO issues a gravity-based fine of $390 in the first instance, then $975 for the second violation $1,950. For failure to abate, the penalty is $13,653 per day beyond the abatement date.