How to Prepare for an OSHA Inspection

Houston OSHA Defense Lawyers Protect Your Business

Do you know what to do when a representative of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration comes to your business? Do your employees know? At Hendershot Cowart P.C., our goal is to make sure employers protect their businesses by taking appropriate steps during and after OSHA inspections.

OSHA inspections are often unannounced, and penalties and fines for citations can be steep. That’s why it becomes critical for employers to proactively prepare for and have a strategy in place to manage an inspection, as well as take the appropriate action during an inspection.

We are a Houston-based law firm that advises Texas businesses on how to prepare for and act during an OSHA inspection. Our firm provides representation for every step of the inspection process, from preventative compliance to defense against citations. Our firm provides representation for every step of the inspection process, from preventative compliance to defense against citations. In short, we are equipped to help businesses with any OSHA-related legal issue.

Call (713) 489-2028 or contact us online to discuss your case in a consultation.

Common Reasons for OSHA Inspections

Inspectors may appear at a worksite for several reasons, including:

  • An injury or death on the site;
  • A complaint from an employee or former employee;
  • To determine whether an employer is in compliance after a previous citation; and
  • Random inspections.

What to Do When an OSHA Officer Comes to Your Business

Our lawyers know that OSHA officers usually ask to see the facility manager or the site superintendent, depending on the type of work site. As the OSHA inspector's first contact, there are certain steps he or she should take to ensure your rights are protected through the inspection process.

When an OSHA inspector arrives, the manager or superintendent should:

  • Ask for the OSHA officer's credentials and the reason for their visit.
  • Determine if the officer has a subpoena or warrant for the visit. Usually, officers do not have these, and they may instead request consent to conduct an inspection.
  • Obtain copies of complaints, if applicable. Names will not appear on complaints, and employers should not comment about complaints or the party who they suspect filed them. Workers who file complaints are protected against retaliation and discrimination by the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
  • Contact an attorney immediately. Hendershot Cowart P.C. can advise clients how to handle the inspection. Often, our attorney can walk through the site with the OSHA inspector.
  • You or your representative should ask to accompany the officer during the inspection.

Here's an important tip:

Consider whether work at the site can stop while an inspection is conducted. By shutting down operations, businesses can reduce the risk that officers will uncover additional OSHA violations.

No manager or superintendent on site?

Ask OSHA to wait for management personnel. Establish a protocol with your workforce to restrict admittance (i.e. not allow an opening conference or inspection) until pre-designated management personnel are present. Employers can also pre-designate an employee representative to participate in inspections (especially in the absence of union officials).

Steps to Take During an OSHA Inspection

During an OSHA inspection, all employees should remember the following:

  • Be professional and polite to the OSHA inspector at all times.
  • Do not volunteer information.
  • If officers ask questions, provide direct, truthful answers.

Managers or superintendents should:

  • Limit the scope of inspection: For most inspections, employers can escort OSHA officers to target areas via pre-designated or strategic routes. Keep inspectors focused on what’s relevant to the inspection.
  • Take the names of each employee who is interviewed and request to be present during the interview.
  • Document the OSHA officer's activities. Take photos of the same things that the officer does.
  • Take the same measurements and tests that the inspector does. That way, your OSHA lawyer will have the information the OSHA inspector gathered.
  • Keep in mind that attorneys can be present during interviews of management.
  • Debrief interviewed employees after the inspection. This can provide employers (and your attorney) with insight regarding the scope of questioning.

These are only some of the steps that businesses should take to ensure that their sites are safe for workers and that employers are adequately protected during OSHA inspections. For the best protection, call us immediately when an accident happens or an injury occurs.

Contact Our Firm Now: Call (713) 489-2028

Few law firms have provided OSHA legal and regulatory guidance for as long as we have, and few offer our comprehensive legal services. The attorneys at Hendershot Cowart P.C. help businesses develop written OSHA compliance policies, safety training procedures, and policies for managing OSHA inspections. We provide guidance during and after OSHA inspections, and we represent businesses in all dealings with OSHA, including administrative hearings and appeals.

To learn more about how our law firm can help you, call (713) 489-2028 or reach out to us online. We serve businesses throughout Texas and nationwide in all OSHA-related matters.

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