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OSHA Inspections

July 29, 2011

I have been curious what happens during an OSHA inspection.  Granted I have not experienced a visit, but I would like to be prepared on what to expect.

First, it should be noted that an OSHA compliance safety and health officers are permitted to enter the premises without delay.  When they arrive they are able to inspect and investigate during regular hours.

The employers have rights also.  They have the right to request and receive proper identification prior to the inspection.  The officer completing the inspection needs to explain the reason for the inspection.   When the inspection begins they employer can be present while in inspection is taking place.  Once the inspection is completed there can be an informal conference to see what was discovered.   From this point the employer has 15 working days to file a Notice of Contest with the OSHA Area Director.  This would be course of action if  there was a citation and penalty.

There would be a different approach if the employer did not want the inspection to take place.  The employer could ask to see a search warrant before they would allow OSHA on the premises.  This would force OSHA to go the court system and obtain a search warrant, but they would need to have administrative probable cause or evidence of a violation.

During the inspection they would be looking for any condition where there would be imminent danger.  Second, they would look into occurrence where fatalities and catastrophes resulted in hospitalization of three or more employees.  Third, would be to investigate employee complaints.  Fourth, they would target high hazard industries, and fifth are inspections for follow up purposes.

Once the inspection begins there are guidelines that need to be followed.  In my next blog I will go over these.  Please feel free to leave a comment or point out anything I missed.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. ellen permalink
    July 29, 2011 8:08 pm

    OSHA – has a lot of power to make sure there is no “imminent danger”. But do they look at minor danger or past it over because of the amount of paperwork involved to pinpoint possible dangerous situations.

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