The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require many standards to be met by businesses and industries. OSHA sets standards to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women. OSHA authorizes enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; assists and encourages the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; provides for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health.

A survey conducted by OSHA in 1999 revealed that more than 85% of employers conduct voluntary self-audits of safety and health conditions. Self-audits are performed by employers in order to reduce injury and illness rates within the workplace and reveal any hazards. By conducting self-audits, employers reduce costs that may incur from workers compensation and sick leave and reduce man-hours lost so that productivity can remain high.

In order to complete a thorough self-audit, use regulatory checklists for each work area and OSHA-required record keeping. Although there is not a standard format for checklists, several key features should be included:

  • Name of auditor and date inspected
  • Description and CFR cite for all pertinent regulations with a space to not deficiencies
  • A feasible completion date for material deficiencies
  • Initials and/or date when all corrections have been completed

The following are highlights of OSHA requirements that apply to many general industry employers within work areas and record keeping.


All work areas should be identified.  Within these locations, consider the applicability of each subpart of the OSHA standards from CFR Title 29. For:

  • Aisles, stairways, and ladders 
    see Walking/Working Surfaces; 1910.21 to 1910.30 
  • Number of and ease of access to exits within each area and emergency plans 
    see Means of Egress; 1910.35 to 1910.38 
  • Lifting platforms 
    see Powered Platforms, Manlifts, and Vehicle-Mounted Work Platforms; 1910.66 to 1910.68
  • Ventilation, noise, and radiation 
    see Occupational Health and Environmental Control; 1910.94 to 1910.98 
  • Storing and handling of hazardous materials 
    see Hazardous Materials; 1910.101 to 1910.126 
  • Eye protection, protective clothing, respiratory protection, head protection, foot protection, electrical protective equipment and hand protection 
    see Personal Protective Equipment; 1910.132 to 1910.139
  • Spill cleanup, safe disposal requirements, permit-required confined spaces, lockout/tagout 
    see General Environmental Controls; 1910.141 to 1910.147 Appendix A 
  • First aid availability and training 
    see Medical and First Aid; 1910.151 to 1910.152 
  • Fire extinguishers, fixed fire-suppression equipment and other systems 
    see Fire Protection; 1910.155 to 1910.165 
  • Air receiver installation and safety 
    see Compressed Gas and Compressed Air Equipment; 1910.166 to 1910.169
  • Use and care of forklifts, cranes, derricks, helicopters and slings
     see Materials Handling and Storage; 1910.176 to 1910.184 
  • Guard requirements for moving machinery 
    see Machinery and Machine Guarding; 1910.211 to 1910.219 
  • Guarding and maintenance of hand-powered equipment 
    see Hand and Portable Powered Tools and Other Hand-Held Equipment; 1910.241 to 1910.244 
  • Oxygen-fuel, arc and resistance welding requirements
    see Welding, Cutting, and Brazing; 1910.251 to 1910.255 
  • Special Industries
    see 1910.261 to 1910.272 Appendix C
  • Design safety standards, safe work practices, maintenance requirements
     see Electrical; 1910.301 to 1910.399 
  • Toxic and Hazardous Substances
    see 1910.1000 to 1910.1450 Appendix B


Written records are often required by OSHA in addition to work area checklists.  These standards cite a required written plan or program in place where applicable:

Emergency Action Plan
Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals
HAZWOPER Record Keeping
Respirator Program
Permit-Required Confined Space Program
Employee Alarm System
Forklift Inspection Log and Training Distribution
Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution
Electrical Safety-Related Work Practices
Bloodborne Pathogens: Exposure Control Plan
Hazard Communication Program
Lab Standard: Chemical Hygiene Plan
Subpart Z - Specific Chemical Substances
1910.1000 to 1910.1450
Appendix B


Q. Would using checklists reduce levied from a formal OSHA inspection?

A.  Recently, OSHA sought public comments on a policy whereby an employer’s self-audit may be considered evidence of good faith.

Creating and Maintaining Checklists

Below is an example of what a portion of a workplace checklist could look like for a flammable storage area.  Appropriate components depend on individual situations.


Inspected By:
Date of Inspection:

(Circle all numbers with deficiencies)


  1. Are approved containers and portable tanks used for the handling and storage of flammable and combustible liquids? 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(2) 
  2. Are all connections on drums and combustible liquid piping vapor and liquid tight? 29 CFR 1910.106(c)(3) 
  3. Are all flammable liquids kept in closed containers when not in use? 29 CFR 1910.106(e)(2)(iv)(a) 
  4. Are bulk drums of flammable liquids grounded and bonded to containers during dispensing? 29 CFR 1910.106(e)(6)(ii)
  5. Are safety cans used for dispensing flammable or combustible liquids? 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(5)(iii) 
  6. Are storage tanks adequately vented to prevent the development of excessive vacuum or pressure as a result of filling, emptying, or atmosphere temperature changes? 29 CFR 1910.106(b)(4)(ii) 
  7. Are portable tanks equipped with emergency venting to relieve internal pressure from exposure to fire? 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(2)(ii) 
  8. Are storage cabinets that store flammable liquids labeled, “Flammable – Keep Fire Away” ? 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(3)(ii)
  9. Are flammable liquids stored in approved safety cans? 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(2); 29 CFR 1910.144(a)(1) 
  10. Are “No Smoking” rules enforced in areas for storage and use of hazardous materials? 29 CFR 1910.106(e)(9)

Fire Extinguishers

  1. Are appropriate fire extinguishers mounted, located and identified so that they are readily accessible to employees? 29 CFR 1910.157(c)(1) 
  2. Are all fire extinguishers inspected and recharged regularly, and marked on inspection tags? 29 CFR 1910.157(e) 
  3. Is there and adequate number or portable fire extinguishers of the proper type? 29 CFR 1910.157(d) 
  4. For a fixed extinguishing system, is a sign posted warning of the hazards presented by the extinguishing medium? 29 CFR 1910.160(b)(5)


  1. Are exits properly marked? 29 CFR 1910.37(q) 
  2. Do exit signs have an illumination of at least 5 foot-candles? 29 CFR 1910.37(q)(6) 
  3. Are exits maintained free of obstructions? 29 CFR 1910.36(d)(1)

Correction completion date:
Corrections have been completed (initials and date):
Sources for more Information

29 CFR 1910


Please Note: The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes only. This publication is not a substitute for review of the applicable government regulations and standards, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the cited regulation or consult with an attorney.

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