How OSHA Investigators Think: Breakrooms, Water, Hand Soap

How OSHA Investigators Think: Breakrooms, Water, Hand Soap

Jill James

Jill James

Chief Safety Officer

Jill James brings an unrivaled perspective on risk, regulation and liability. With 14 years of experience as a Senior OSHA Safety Investigator with the State of Minnesota, and nearly a decade in the private sector as a safety program manager, Jill is a passionate advocate for training ROI.

What did I commonly cite when I was an OSHA Inspector? Here are three examples:

#1. The Basics

Sometimes, being a regulator broke my heart.

We safety professionals know this feeling. We are often solo advocates for our fellow human beings, standing firm, sometimes found promoting basic human dignity.

On this eve of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the work you all do, even when it breaks your heart.

1910.141 is OSHA’s standard for “Sanitation”, under “General Environmental Controls”.

Unfortunately, I did have to issue citations for these:

  • 1910.141(b)(1)(i) - provide drinking water
  • 1910.141(d)(2)(iii) - provide hand soap
  • 1910.141(g)(2) - cannot eat in a bathroom; provide a breakroom

Here are three resources to support your efforts this winter: Seize the Season of Safety | Hand Washing | Flu Season Safety

#2. Overhead & Gantry Cranes

Are your overhead and gantry cranes receiving their ‘Frequent’ and ‘Periodic’ inspections? 

  • 1910.179 is OSHA’s standard for overhead and gantry cranes.
  • 1910.179(j)(1)(ii)(a) defines ‘frequent’ as daily to monthly. 
  • 1910.179(j)(1)(ii)(b) defines ‘periodic’ as 1 to 12 month intervals. 

The details of what those inspections must include are found in 1910.179(j)(2)(i)-(vii) for “frequent” and 1910.179(j)(3)(i)-(x) for “periodic”. 

What methods do you use to prove and ensure these inspections are occurring?

If you’d like to share your methods with fellow safety professionals, please pass along your best practices and resources.  

Here’s a video I filmed with safety professionals at Monterey Bay Aquarium that covers inspection of cranes, joists, and hoists:

Supervisor Safety Tip: Overhead Crane Safety

#3. Exit Doors

Many parts of the U.S. got a fresh pile of snow recently. Who has walked the outside perimeter of their buildings to ensure snow isn’t obstructing exits?

You can also try opening every exit door to the outside—are there any obstructions?

Pro Tip: Task this to various work departments or a safety committee. Ask for their findings. They may also discover exits obstructed on the inside by stored materials and whatnot. Empower employees to remove obstructions if it’s safe to do. 

Here’s the regulation I cited for this: 1910.37(a)(3)