What To Do If An OSHA Compliance Officer Knocks?

OSHA has a new video explaining the OSHA workplace inspection process and reasons why an  inspection would occur. 

There are different types of inspections that OSHA performs. Here is a list in order of priority:

  • Imminent Danger Inspections.  
  • Investigative Inspections. 
  • Employee Complaint Inspections. 
  • Programmed Inspections.  
  • Follow-up Inspections.

Some ‘legal experts’ have recommended that companies request a search warrant if an OSHA inspector knocks on the door; however we do not ever advise this. Instead, be prepared. Here are a few tips:

  1. Ensure the safest possible workplace; in all dimensions of wellness and safety, not just physical safety
  2. Establish the essential elements for an effective safety program:
    • Management Commitment and Involvement
    • Employee Involvement and Engagement
    • Hazard Identification, Prevention, and Correction
    • Training
    • Evaluation and Feedback Loops
    • PLUS
      • A caring rather than compliance approach
      • Consideration for employee well-being
      • Leadership development
      • A psychologically safe work environment

3. Ask for an ID and the reason for the inspection. Notify whoever will be involved in the inspection

4. Develop a policy for what to do before, during, and after the inspection

5. Know the process, and expectations during the inspection:

  • There will be an opening conference, an inspection of the area of concern or the entire workplace, and a closing conference
  • A report with deadlines for corrections and potential fines

6. Take pictures of whatever the inspector takes and make notes

7. Answer questions honestly without necessarily volunteering additional information

8. Educate your staff on what to do is an OSHA inspector knocks, including the receptionist.

Please let us know if you have questions or would like us to review your process. OSHA Workplace Inspection Video

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