What to Know Before an OSHA Inspection

What to Know Before an OSHA Inspection


For some business owners and risk managers, the thought of an inspection by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) may seem scary. But the truth is, it doesn’t need to be.

Like anything else, the key is preparation. The better prepared you are for an inspection, the more likely you are to identify any issues ahead of time and pass.

Here’s what you need to know about OSHA inspections before they happen.

Inspections can be planned as part of regularly scheduled interviews. They can also be triggered by complaints from within or outside of the organization.

Sometimes they’re triggered by programs rolled out at the state, local or even national level. Elected or appointed officials may decide to emphasize particular safety issues and want to ensure compliance. Also, if some workplaces are seeing a higher number of incidents, that may draw the attention of government regulators who may want to take a closer look at what’s going on and how to resolve potential issues.

Some inspections can be follow-ups to previous ones. If an inspection was conducted and hazards were identified, those inspectors will want to make sure they’ve been taken care of.

A workplace fatality will almost always result in an inspection. So will the prospect of imminent danger at a worksite or workplace.

As part of an inspection, OSHA officials will want to examine records. That’s why it’s important to stay up-to-date with any safety related documentation. Failure to do so can result in severe consequences for a business, including fines.

Site inspections will be used to identify hazards and observe employee behaviors. Proper training is critical, especially when there are toxic materials involved or other possibly dangerous scenarios.

Officials will also, as part of their inspection duties, conduct interviews with employees. If some are unionized, the labor representative will be included in those talks. So will rank and file employees and management.

There are things risk managers can do upon learning about a pending inspection. You have the right to inspect and examine the credentials of the inspector, and they are required to provide those. You can also ask for the purpose of the inspection. If it has been brought about by a complaint, the inspector will let you know as much. You can ask for an inspection warrant and have other tools available at your disposal. You can also negotiate for a limited scope of the inspection. That can be done for their consent to inspect if a warrant isn’t in place.

You will want to give the inspector a space in which to operate and do paperwork. You can also have the right personnel accompany the inspector as they make their rounds. It’s also wise to notify department heads in advance of an inspection so they can prepare accordingly. This can go a long way towards achieving compliance and passing an inspection.

Any issues that are identified that can be handled immediately should be. This also signals to the official that your operation is serious about addressing its workplace safety.

Inspectors often use photographs and video to document their work. You will want to do the same. Similarly, they will be taking notes, and you should be as well.

If you need any more information, you can contact the highly trained staff at ABI Insurance.

ABI Insurance carries commercial insurance. Its team of qualified professionals are fully equipped to help you manage risks and ensure that your business is protected and you’re covered in the event that anything happens.

For more information on the products and services offered by ABI, call 503-292-1580 or go to https://abipdx.com/.