055: Using Drones for Safety

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How would you like an OSHA inspector to launch a drone over top your jobsite or building, looking for hazards and violations. Perhaps workers on the roof, forklift operators in the yard, cell tower workers on a mountain – an OSHA inspector could see it all without even stepping foot on your property.

It’s not as far-fetched as it may sound.

OSHA authorizes the use of drones by inspectors to collect evidence during inspections in specific workplace settings.

But before you freak out, currently, OSHA inspectors are only allowed to use drones for enforcement purposes in areas that are inaccessible or pose a safety risk to inspection personnel.

The other issue worth noting; OSHA must obtain express consent from the employer before using a drone on an inspection. Also, OSHA must notify personnel of the aerial inspection before the drone’s launching.

So, for now, most employers don’t have to worry. But, it is something that employers should keep in mind, in case OSHA decides to expand their use of drones. Obviously, any secret usage over an employer’s worksite could bring up constitutional issues, but as technology advances, and drones become more commonplace, employers may want to incorporate the issue into their OSHA inspection procedures.

Listen to the full podcast episode to hear about ways you can use this technology to your advantage!

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