Summer is here, and for some it’s a time of rest and relaxation, but for food workers it can be the most physically taxing time of the year. The thousands of workers who make their living while exposed to the heat—indoors or out—are at an increased risk during the dog days of summer. In the food industry, heat illness is an often overlooked occupational injury, but the good news is that heat-related hazards can be prevented or minimized.
When organizations within the food industry attempt to comply with OSHA standards and regulations, there are three common compliance mistakes that I routinely observe as an auditor. Each could easily trigger an OSHA enforcement action. First, employers often fail to review relevant OSHA interpretation letters, directives, or the OSHA Field Operations Manual for guidance. Second, employers do not document non-recordable cases and reasons why they are not considered recordable. Finally, employers are not specific in the details when documenting a recordable event. To address these mistakes, I’ve outlined more specific information below on each to help you mitigate the risk of non-compliance – or worse, an enforcement action.