In business, the importance of preparation cannot be understated. The importance of preparation is most critical when it comes to OSHA investigations. While you may go a long time before ever having one, you don’t want it to catch you unready. Not being properly prepared for an OSHA investigation may be lead to a citation. OSHA citations can lead to hefty fines, damaged reputations, and employee tension.
There are a number of reasons why OSHA may decide to visit your site to conduct an investigation. This may include:
- Incidents where three or more workers were injured
- Follow-up inspections
- Random inspections
- Referrals from other government agencies
Please note, if your company is in an industry with a high injury rate, such as construction, you’re more likely to receive a visit from an OSHA inspector at some point.
Regardless of why OSHA is investigating your site, it’s vital that your company has a plan in place that minimizes the impact of the visit. If you have questions about how to create this plan, the OSHA defense attorneys at Trent Cotney P.A. can help.
In the first part of our two-part series, we will talk about what companies should do prior to an OSHA inspection to ensure that they are prepared.
Prior to An OSHA Inspection
Before OSHA arrives at your job site, designate a person and an alternate to guide the OSHA inspector through walk-throughs and interviews, answer questions, and present requested information. This person should not only understand your company policies, they should have a feel for how to deal with OSHA during inspections. This includes understanding employer and employee rights. A safety officer is the most appropriate person for this role.
When an OSHA inspector arrives, it’s appropriate to request identification. You may also contact your local OSHA office for verification.
While it’s not advisable to keep an OSHA investigator waiting, it can happen. If an OSHA investigator arrives and your designated company official is not available, you may delay the investigation until he or she arrives. It’s not advisable to wait more than 45 minutes. This is why having an alternate is always a good idea.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.