An OSHA Inspector Has Come to My Workplace

Do you know what to do if an OSHA inspector comes to your work site? Inspectors from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may appear for a safety inspection at your worksite at any time and for any reason. These inspections may result in citations that can carry monetary penalties and requirements for potentially expensive abatements. Because of the potential for severe consequences, it is worth the time and effort for employers to prepare for OSHA inspections, understand the process associated with an OSHA inspection and develop a plan of action for when an inspection occurs.

If you have properly prepared for an OSHA inspection, your employees should know how to handle each stage of an OSHA inspection. In this blog, we provide some tips for handling OSHA inspections. These tips are not comprehensive. Your business or worksite may have needs that can best be addressed with an individual plan.

  • When an OSHA inspector arrives, the manager or superintendent on a job site should first ask for the OSHA inspector's credentials and reason for the visit. The manager should also determine whether the inspector has a warrant or is requesting consent for an inspection. At this point, it's a good idea to contact an attorney for further advice.
  • Your manager or superintendent should ask to accompany the inspector on the property. During the inspection, all employees should be polite and respectful to the OSHA officer, but should not volunteer information.
  • During the inspection, you should document the OHSA officer's activities, including taking the same measurements, tests and photos that the inspector does. You should also take the names of each employee who is interviewed and ask to be present during the interview.

Contact an attorney as soon as possible when an OSHA inspector comes to your worksite. Some attorneys can make it to your jobsite before the initial inspection ends. OSHA will use the information it gathers to make determinations about citations and whether additional investigation is necessary. By being involved early in the process, your lawyer will be better able to defend you and may be able to work with OSHA to reduce or mitigate the consequences of any violations.

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