OSHA Access to Audits Criticized

It's little surprise that 18- to 34-year-olds are at the heart of a nationwide increase in illegal drug use, and the manufacturing industry traditionally draws heavily from this pool of job seekers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) unlimited access to occupational safety and health audits results in many companies issuing vague reports and limiting their circulation, according to a survey by Organization Resources Counselors Inc. (ORC).

In March, ORC surveyed 150 large member firms to assess the impact of OSHA's enforcement policy, which allows compliance officers to demand company voluntary audits. Forty-one companies responded.

ORC said that for audits to work as intended, results must be "blunt and critical," widely circulated and discussed with all affected individuals, and retained and available until the findings are fully resolved.

While all the companies performed safety and health audits, over half said OSHA's policy had an impact on their company's audit practices. Said one firm: "Clearly, the threat of OSHA being able to use in-house audit results against the company creates an undesirable pressure to not document serious negative findings, which, in turn, negatively impacts our ability to rectify the conditions."

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