California is a difficult state to do business in, regardless of the industry. Companies are consistently hindered by federal/state business compliance regulations and work place safety enforcement. Cal-OSHA can institute heavy fines upon inspection if a job or worksite is not up to code. These fines not only tie up cash flow, but could disallow you from working with certain vendors or customers. There are a multitude of things that you can do to ensure that an inspection goes smoothly and will mitigate potential fines from Cal-OSHA. Site preparation is immensely important prior to an Cal-OSHA inspection. If possible, one of your employees should be designated as a safety coordinator. There should also be a group of employees assigned as an “OSHA team”. Pending an inspection, these individuals should have an understanding of the typical work related questions that are asked by an inspector. This coordinator should also conduct a rehearsal inspection once a quarter. Having these drills is a proactive way to enact preparedness within your workforce and will make certain that an inspection goes smoothly. When an actual Cal-OSHA inspection is forthcoming, it is important to ask an inspector for their credentials, request time to assemble your team, and to notify your legal council of the results immediately. All of these steps are well within your right. Once the inspection is underway, your “safety coordinator” should be responsible for taking notes. Documentation is essential when an inspector interviews employees and examines equipment. Make sure to highlight the safety efforts that have been made, but don’t initiate discussion on the conditions that you think are dangerous. You’re required to only answer the questions given to you by the inspector. You should not disclose any information that is not requested. Also, try to resolve hazards as soon as possible when the inspector points them out. Even if it is during the inspection or the inspector is still on-site. This will go a long way to saving you money and time spent on paper work. Make sure to appeal Cal-OSHA citations within at least 10 days of receiving them. File a written appeal even if an informal conference is requested. Involve legal council or a risk manager if applicable. Article By: Tyler Albers, CRIS White & Company Insurance Inc.