The Occupation Health and Safety Act requires employers to furnish New Mexico employees with a safe and healthy work environment. While many employer concerns, in the area of safety and health, can be handled by the NM OHSB Consultation Section, the inspection information on this page should be of interest and beneficial to employers.
The Inspection Process
There are five general reasons that a business or public entity may be inspected:
1. A complaint filed by an employee or their representative.
2. A referral from another governmental agency or member of the public.
3. Review of records.
4. A general scheduled inspection.
5. An accident where three or more individuals are hospitalized.
Upon receipt of a complaint or referral, the Compliance Program Manager decides whether or not to initiate an investigation. If an investigation is decided upon, it is either in the form of an official letter of inquiry into the situation and the nature of the complaint, telephone call, by a fax inquiry or in an on-site inspection.
The letter of inquiry is sent to the employer notifying them about the complaint and inquiring as to the validity of the items. Employers are given a reasonable amount of time to respond. If the response sufficiently resolves the problem, then the file is closed. A phone or fax inquiry is handled much as a letter of inquiry. If the response is inadequate to determine if the hazard exists or not, then a compliance officer may be sent to perform an inspection.
An inspection may be performed on any complaint or referral. Furthermore, many inspections are planned from a random list of high hazard industries. Inspections that arise from complaints and referrals are primarily limited to the scope of the complaint items, and any other hazards that are seen during the inspection. If the facility is considered to be a high-hazard industry according to the Standard Industrial Classification code (SIC code), the inspection can be conducted as a comprehensive inspection. The primary focus of an investigation is not to determine fault, but whether employees are exposed to hazards at the time of the inspection resulting in a violation of the occupational health and safety act.
Components of an Inspection
There are three parts to the inspection process:
1. The opening conference.
2. The inspection walk-around.
3. The closing conference.
The Opening Conference
As the inspector enters the facility an opening conference is held with the management and/or other interested parties. Information covered in the opening conference is as follows:
1. The reason the inspection is taking place.
2. The scope of the inspection.
3. The legal authority to perform the inspection.
4. Gathering basic information about the company, its processes, and employees.
The Inspection Walk-Around
The inspection takes place after the opening conference. The inspector will walk-through the work-site or certain portions of it, depending on the reason for the inspection. The inspection may include the following:
1. Inspection of the work-site.
2. Employee interviews.
3. Review of records.
4. Policy and procedure review.
5. Accident scene investigation.
The Closing Conference
After the inspection walk-through, the inspector will end the inspection with a closing conference and the following information will be covered:
1. The hazards that were found.
2. Procedures for correcting the citable conditions and what actions the employer is expected to take.
3. The amount of time given to correct the hazards.
4. The methods required for contacting NM OHSB after hazards have been abated.
5. Employer rights and the methods for contesting citations, penalties, or abatement time.
6. Employee rights regarding the abatement time, and filing contests.
The closing conference covers all information that the employer requires in regard to citable conditions found during the inspection. It also emphasizes what the employer can expect from OHSB and the employer/employee rights in regard to any citations issued.
Within eight (8) hours after the death of any employee from a work-related incident or the inpatient hospitalization of three or more employees as a result of a work-related incident, the employer must report the event to OSHA.
For incidents within New Mexico, you contact the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau in person by visiting our offices at 525 Camino de los Marquez, Suite 3 in Santa Fe, NM. You may also fax the information to our fax number at 505-476-8734. Or you may call 505-476-8700 during work hours or 800-321-OSHA (800-321-6742) outside of normal working hours.
The specific information you need to provide is described in 29 CFR 1904.39
|Checklists options will be located under Publications then under Checklists|
|To save: RIGHT-click the Word documents below and select “Save Target/Link As…”|
|Abrasive wheel equipment grinders||Checklist|
|Maintaining the Foundation||Checklist|
|Compressed gas and Equipment||Checklist|
|Compressors and Compressed Air||Checklist|
|Confined spaces: permit-required||Checklist|
|Cranes and hoists||Checklist|
|Emergency action plan||Checklist|
|Ergonomics: computer workstations||Checklist|
|Exits (Access and Egress)||Checklist|
|Flammable and Combustible Material||Checklist|
|Floor and Wall Openings||Checklist|
|Hand tools and equipment||Checklist|
|Lockout and tagout||Checklist|
|Medical services and first aid||Checklist|
|Noise: hearing conservation||Checklist|
|Personal protective equipment (PPE)||Checklist|
|Piping systems: identification||Checklist|
|Safety Committees and Meetings||Checklist|
|Split rim and multi-piece wheel tire inflation||Checklist|
|Spray finishing operations||Checklist|
|Stairs and stairways||Checklist|
|Tools and equipment: portable power-operated||Checklist|
|Transportation: employees and materials||Checklist|
|Ventilation for indoor air quality||Checklist|
|Welding, cutting and brazing||Checklist|
|Work environment: general||Checklist|
In addition to the resoucres available from OSHA to addess workplace conerns, assistance also is available from the Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) program of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Through the HHE program, NIOSH responds to requests for evaluations of workplace health hazards from employers, employees and their representatives, and government agencies.
At no cost to the employer or employees, NIOSH conducts studies of workplaces in response to these requests to learn if workers are exposed to hazardous materials or harmful conditions. Workplace exposures studied include chemicals, biological agents, work stress, noise, radiation, and ergonomics. NIOSH evaluates the workplace environment and the health of employees by reviewing records and conducting on-site environmental and medical testing. Upon completion of the study, NIOSH issues a report that includes recommendations for addressing identified problems, reducing exposure, and preventing disease. HHEs can be especially helpful in the following situations:
1) Employees have an illness from an unknown cause.
2) Employees are exposed to an agent or working condition that is not regulated by OSHA.
3) Employees experience adverse health effects from exposure to a regulated or unregulated agent or working condition, even though the permissible exposure limit is not being exceeded.
4) Medical or epidemiological investigations are needed to evaluate the hazard.
5) The incidence of a particular disease or injury is higher than expected in a group of employees.
6) The exposure is to a new or previously unrecognized hazard.
7) The hazard seems to result from the combined effects of several agents.