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Preparing for your first safety inspection

There are a lot of considerations when you want to open your door to the public. Along with the potential for profit comes significant liability if a customer or staff member were injured.

One of the reasons for the lengthy list of requirements you get from agencies like OSHA is to set a minimum expectation for safety so that you can avoid accidents. Depending on the nature of your business, an inspector may look at anything from aisle width to the expiration dates on your fire extinguishers.

Here’s what you should keep in mind as you prepare for your first inspection.

Inspectors are not the enemy

A pending inspection can be intimidating. It feels like a team of people is going to come to your business to point out everything wrong.

Thankfully, inspectors want you to pass. While there are fines and fix-it consequences for issues that do not pass, inspectors would rather give you good news than bad. Chances are, if the inspector finds problems, it will lead to extra work for them as well and probably another visit.

Treat the inspection like a conversation

An inspection does not have to mean standing by watching someone tick items off a check-list. While there may be a list of areas the inspector needs to cover, take the opportunity to talk about the specifics of what the inspector expects to see for a passing mark in each area.

You are not alone

It can seem like there is a mountain of rules to try to understand. Some of them are clear, while others come with exceptions that make them sound complicated.

OSHA, for example, offers consultations to help you prepare your site for an inspection. When that is not a possibility, consider talking to a consultant knowledgeable in your area of business to help you prepare. By talking to someone who has been through the process before, you may be able to save yourself the headache and expense of potential violations.

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