My insurance company wants to inspect my small metal/wood/welding shop in
rented industrial space. I believe my setup is very safe and meets most (if
not all) NEC, OSHA, etc. code. But I don't know how picky this guy is going
to be. Perhaps he is going to make sure he finds something in order to
justify his fee to the insurance company. Has anyone gone through this
before? Care to share any tips which may not be obvious?
The list is long and overwhelming. However, most of these guys are looking
for the simple stuff.
1. Grinders, tool rest to far from wheel, no guards or face shields.
2. Fire extinguishers not inspected each month - tag signed.
3. Eye wash stations not clean, or a record of regular inspections.
4. Extension cords used in permanent operation.
5. Electrical outlets/switch plates missing or broken.
6. No lock-out-tag-out program.
7. Missing or non-existent safety program and poor record keeping of safety
meetings/program, MSDS Community right -to-know, hazardous material
8. Personal protection programs not complete. Face, eye, noise, respirators,
9. Safety devices tampered with or defeated. (Big NO NO)
10. Cleanliness - housekeeping.
I hope this helps.
<Most> of these guys are really out to help (both the insurance company
who retained them and the business in my experience. Occasionally
you'll find one who's a thwarted early-year OSHA inspector, but by and
large the insurance guys are much more to tuned to reality. If,
however, he does find an actual code violation you can be sure he'll
flag it --of course, that's better than the actual OSHA or other
regulatory inspector finding it...
I go through this once a year. In addition, make sure any three prong cords
have the ground prong in place. Fans should be plastic housings or
otherwise protected. He may want to see your employee training setup, when
was the last fire drill, emergency action and fire prevention plans, and
hazardous material communications program. Fork lift truck training,
propane storage, chemical and solvent storage. Not to mention exit signs and
They are more interested in helping you be a safe employer rather that try
to shut you down and raise premiums. Listen to the guy, show him anything
he wants to see. My last inspector said he like to see a shop with music
blaring and employees all but dancing as happy people are safe people.
Put the guards back on the machines and have safety glasses and hearing
protection available even if not needed.
I remember the time OSHA went through a Ultra high tech Radar site.
My dad was the senior most person there other than the General and sometimes
higher due to certain clearances he needed.
He got tagged because of his Polly Perk - those plastic coffee pots that had
(as most today do) a two prong plug. It sat on his desk.
He took the cord to the shop and drilled out the rivet in the pot side,
secured a three prong plug/cable and stripped 6" from the end. Cut the black
and white lines short and attached the socket for the poly side. The Ground
looped back from this socket and then up to a Green tagged lug. This lug was
sheet metal screwed into the side of the perk.
That mod passed OSHA.
He naturally used a SS screw - didn't want the iron taste!
Martin Eastburn, Barbara Eastburn
@ home at Lion's Lair with our computer firstname.lastname@example.org
This sounds a bit too naughty for this time of year (a chance of getting
coal and all), but a trick around here, IF your shop is otherwise in
fine shape... leave the inspector a 'find'. A glaring, yet innocuous
violation, like a blade-guard (which normally wouldn't be there at all)
tied back with a string---> he finds it, you instantly fix it, and he's
happy and out the door. The less they find, the harder they look.
You have to make them feel like they are doing their job.
Get rid of any flammables, whether liquid, paper, or cloth. If you use
flammables, have them in a metal locker.
Go out right now and buy one of those testers that tell you if the socket is
wired right. About $7 anywhere. Fix any that are not. Check your fire
extinguishers to be up to date. Clean up. Have signs where you need signs.
Any inspector can and will find something wrong. But if you give the
impression that you are safety conscious, and working to provide a safe
place, they will usually give you a little slack.
Tip: Shut up. Speak when spoken to, and don't elaborate on anything. Be
sociable. Don't try to take him anywhere or keep him from going anywhere.
Follow at a slight distance.
He is going to catch the obvious that you missed. But whether or not he
goes into details depends on how anal he is and your attitude.
Steve (former BCSP safety man)
I invited the fire department over to inspect my shop. They liked my
safety gear, first aid kit, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, etc.
One guy liked the way I soldered hardware cloth to the fluorescent
light reflectors to protect the bulbs. They did not like the cans of
finish and paints I had stored on metal shelving.
All good sugestions here. I go through this a few times a year. My best
strategy is to have everything as good as I can but I leave a few "Red
Hearings" for him to find. Simple things and easy to fix like covers off of
electrical boxes, chains around welding tanks unhooked, pile of debris in
the middle of an isle, guard off of a machine.... Is't his job to find
something wrong, make it easy for him or he WILL find something else!!!
I have a 30,000' 100 yr.+ old building and there's no way an inspector won't
find something. I'll bet you anything I could "FIND" enough wrong with your
faculity to shut you down...depending on my mood.
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