Editor's Note

Editor's Note: Knock knock

My sister has described to me a comedian’s routine in which he talks about his childhood in the Chicago area and compares it to life now. He said that when he was a kid, a visitor showing up at the front door of your home was something to be happy about, whereas today when the doorbell rings, everyone practically dives behind the sofa so as not to be seen and says “you answer it” to each other.

The comedian’s depiction of his youth perfectly reflects my own experience growing up in Chicago’s southwest suburbs. Back then, a knock on the big wooden door of our bungalow usually meant something nice. Often, it was a neighbor kid who wanted me to come out and play. Other times it might be an after-work visit from my Uncle Ed, who typically arrived with a coffee cake and departed several $5 bills lighter, having handed them out to me and my siblings (a tradition I continue today with my six nephews).

“When OSHA comes knocking” is a phrase frequently used to describe surprise OSHA inspections, and it seems to trigger powerful – and far less pleasant – emotions. Emails I receive from training companies and consulting firms use verbs such as “surviving” to describe the process and call to mind the first eight notes of the famous fourth movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, allegedly described by the composer as “fate knocking on the door.”

This month, Senior Associate Editor Kyle W. Morrison talks with experts – including a former OSHA inspector – about what employers can do to prepare for an inspection. They also discuss what can be expected if one takes place, so that the prospect of OSHA knocking will be – if not something to be happy about – then at the very least something not to dread.

Melissa J. Ruminski The opinions expressed in “Editor’s Note” do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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