OSHA conducts inspections every year; in 2017, a total of 32,396 federal and 43,551 state OSHA inspections took place. If you have concrete policies and procedures in place that ensure the safety of all your employees, you don’t need to worry about OSHA representatives showing up at your worksite year after year. With that said, you should always be ready for the possibility of an OSHA inspection. In fact, OSHA inspectors generally conduct surprise examinations without giving you prior notice. Be sure to prepare for such an inspection by understanding why they take place and which procedures your company should follow when an examination occurs.
Understand Why OSHA Inspections Occur
There are several reasons why an OSHA inspection might occur, including employee injuries and/or fatalities, employee complaints and referrals from another business or government agency. While employers in some industries have a heightened risk of workplace safety issues, e.g., construction and chemical industries, all employers must comply with OSHA standards.
Before the OSHA examination takes place, the inspector will provide you with the reason for the inspection. If, for example, the inspection is taking place because of an employee complaint, the inspector will provide a copy of the complaint with the employee’s information redacted.
Remember that an OSHA examination might not include an inspection of the entire worksite; it depends on the reason for the examination. The inspector will indicate which areas will be inspected prior to the examination.
You should have specific procedures in place for when an OSHA inspection does occur. Particularly, you’ll want to first confirm the inspector’s identity by asking for proper identification. Next, you should appoint a safety manager or supervisor to assist the inspector during the examination. Be mindful that OSHA examinations might take place over several days or weeks, particularly if the worksite is large.
After the inspector arrives and you’ve confirmed their identity, you should immediately provide the inspector with the appropriate safety gear to change into before the examination begins. Additionally, you’ll want to provide a list of employees who will be present in OSHA meetings during the examination. Keep in mind that an OSHA inspector can ask to speak to any employee they choose. Be ready to provide the inspector with a list of employees who work in various departments on the premises and can answer questions regarding workplace safety.
If you need assistance with an OSHA-related matter or need help preparing for an OSHA inspection, contact lawyer Seth Robbins at Robbins Law Group, PPLC, to learn more today.
We have considerable experience partnering with all types of government contractors, from small businesses to larger companies, and helping them at every phase of the contracting process – from procurement and negotiations to compliance, dispute resolution and more.