A visit from OSHA is generally not a common occurrence, nor is it a "good" thing, from your perspective. OSHA, as the federal agency that regulates workplace safety and health, has the authority to issue costly citations for hazard and compliance violations. In repeat cases, OSHA can put you on its watch list, and in severe situations may even effectively shut your business down.
OSHA inspects thousands of workplaces each year for a variety of different reasons. It could be that OSHA has selected your work site for a random inspection, or the inspection could be in response to a workplace accident or an employee complaint. It is also possible that OSHA is checking to see if your company has complied with hazard control measures.
No matter what the reason for the inspection is, you need to be prepared. Here are some important steps that you can take so that you, your business and your employees are ready.
- Ask the OSHA officer to identify himself/herself and state the reason for the visit.
- Call Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C. for advice on what to do next.
- Tell the OSHA officer that you want your attorney to walk through the job site with him or her.
- Tell the OSHA officer that you want your attorney present at all interviews of management.
- If the inspection continues without your lawyer present, ask to accompany the officer during the inspection yourself.
- Consider shutting down the work site during the inspection so additional violations are not uncovered.
- Take notes during the inspection, writing down who the officer talks to.
- After the inspection is complete, talk to your lawyer about what to do next.
Keep reading for more information on the steps to take during an OSHA inspection, including how much information to disclose. Remember that managers and superintendents have a right to have an attorney present during interviews with OSHA officers.