We recently came across two articles that briefly discuss the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s decision to use drones for workplace inspections. The first is “Key Takeaways from OSHA’s New Drone Initiative,” by Demetrius Pyburn, and the second is “OSHA’s Drone Initiative,” by Kathryn M. Rattigan. They were found on the SC Employers’ Blog and The National Law Review website respectively. Both articles share that the Occupational Safety and Health Association conducted nine drone inspections in 2018. In most of these cases, drone inspections were conducted as a safer alternative to the traditional walk through. During a drone inspection, a camera is attached to an unmanned aircraft, gathering footage of the site. The use of drones allows inspectors to be thorough without putting themselves in danger at hazardous work sites.
A few take-aways:
- Companies must grant OSHA permission for a drone inspection to take place, and both articles recommend that employers stay involved throughout the process, even assisting in the creation of the flight plan.
- Employers may also consider hiring drone pilots to conduct internal safety inspections. In any case, HR should make sure that operations are regulated.
- It is recommended that employers obtain an agreement that drone footage is shared with the company.
- When hiring drone pilots, it is also important to make sure that candidates have proper certification and that potential drone activity doesn’t conflict any legal regulations.
Remember, Red Flag Reporting’s hotline enables employees to report safety concerns anonymously or not. Encouraging your employees to utilize your safety hotline, and responding promptly to hotline reports, will ultimately protect your employees and save you time and money.