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OSHA: Strategies for When They Inspect You

- July 7, 2017 by Guest Bloggers (View all posts by Guest)

No matter how many OSHA workplace safety inspections you’ve encountered, the thought of an inspector knocking may make you anxious. Often, OSHA inspectors will arrive without providing advanced notice – only adding to the uncertainty and anxiety.

However, by knowing the inspector protocols, you can be confident that even if you don’t know when OSHA is coming, you fully prepared to welcome and impress the inspector.
In this blog, we’ll discuss common practices that will assist you in getting through an OSHA inspection.

Things You Should Do:

  • Listen to the reason the for the purpose of the visit. Knowing the type of inspection will benefit you greatly as to whether it is a narrow in scope-type inspection or a full blown, wall to wall comprehensive inspection.
  • Lead the inspector directly to the area of concern and not through the entire premises. Especially, if the inspection is narrow in scope, meaning he received a complaint about your electrical room, for example, then just take him directly to the electrical room, and not a tour of your entire processing plant. Compliance Safety Health Officers (CSHO) must observe all serious hazards that are ‘In Plain’ sight, and point them out, which could lead to additional citations.
  • Take pictures and notes of the areas the officer notices and or asks questions about. If a picture is taken, take the same picture. If questions are asked take notes of them, and also, the answers which were given. Be honest and open with the inspector, however, only answering the questions that are asked. No need to elaborate or go further in detail if you answered the question.
  • Things You Should NOT Do:

  • Do not argue your case at the time of the inspection and/or closing conference. Save your arguments for the informal conference. Any argument made by you will be noted and the CSHO will ensure that your argument is become moot, if he/she decides to cite.
  • Do not discriminate against anyone who is interviewed by OSHA as this will open up further possible action by the CSHO. Also, it will not put your company in a ‘good light’.
  • Do not panic nor worry, especially if you are already following your company’s safety program and procedures. If you are training your employees on the hazards of their job, and have policies/procedures in place for identifying and correcting hazards, and enforcing your programs through disciplinary action, then you are doing the right thing.
  • Do you have strategies that work for you? Let us know by leaving a comment below.