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Meet the “Scary 13”

Toby Graham /
people reacting to scary movie

A mysterious creak, the flicker of a shadow on the wall, the feeling you’re being watched… 

What’s truly scary is what you don’t see.

Consider the fact that Jason never appeared outside of flashbacks in the original Friday the 13th. Or that we never witness the Blair Witch in The Blair Witch Project.

The same is true for real-life horrors. I’m talking about the scary stuff of workplace safety: missing personal protective equipment, unsecured machinery, untrained employees. It’s the hidden, uncertain, and unpredictable hazards that safety leaders should fear. That’s not only because veiled dangers can cause very real incidents, but because they’re also what the Occupational Health and Safety Administration is frequently trying to suss out during a site visit.

Indeed, OSHA inspectors work a lot like spirit mediums. They’re attempting to reach across the physical plane and make the invisible visible. They want to find the “ghosts” of certification and training documents—what should be there, or used to be there, but isn’t.

Even spookier, there are not 11, not 12, but 13 frequently missing workplace safety records OSHA agents find—or rather, don’t find—during facility inspections. That’s according to John Newquist, a former OSHA area director who worked for the agency for 3 decades. Newquist told Safety + Health magazine about the “Scary 13” documents employers often fail to produce:

  1. Lockout authorized employee training
  2. A current list of chemicals used at the facility
  3. Temporary employees’ OSHA 301 or state workers’ compensation report of injury
  4. Training records for electrical safe work practices
  5. Annual respirator training
  6. Lockout/tagout audits
  7. Personal protective equipment training
  8. Noise exposure training
  9. Bloodborne pathogens training
  10. Confined spaces – non-permit certification
  11. Forklift recertification
  12. Written PPE hazard assessment with certification
  13. Hazard communication training for all employees with current chemicals

Read more in “What to expect when OSHA is inspecting.”

Don’t wait until OSHA trick-or-treats at your doorstep to bust the ghosts in your safety program and clean out the skeletons in your closet. KPA’s EHS software and audit services will help you proactively manage risk and ensure compliance. 

Happy Halloween from KPA!

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