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NRCA Legal Advice: Types of OSHA Inspections

It is not uncommon for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more commonly referred to as OSHA to send a compliance officer to perform inspections on your job site. OSHA performs these inspections for a variety of reasons including imminent dangers, employee complaints, or accidents that result in serious injury or death. In addition to the aforementioned causes of an OSHA inspection, OSHA may also perform what is known as programmed inspections and/or follow up inspections following an inspection where the compliance officer found evidence of a violation. If there is reason to believe that your job site may be subject to an OSHA inspection, we urge you to seek the counsel of an experienced NRCA legal expert.

Below we will outline the different types of inspections that OSHA may perform on your job site.

1. NRCA OSHA Imminent Danger Inspections

Imminent danger inspections are usually brought on by situations that involve a danger that can cause serious harm or fatality before it can be eliminated through normal OSHA processes. OSHA ranks these types of situations as high priority on their list. When a suspected imminent danger is present on a job site, an OSHA compliance officer will contact the employer and request the employer to either a) voluntarily remove the danger, or b) immediately remove any employees who are at risk of being injured by the danger. OSHA may request for an injunction prohibiting work from being performed on the job site so long as the danger is present if the employer denies the compliance officer’s request. If you have been cited for an imminent danger, we highly recommend contacting an NRCA OSHA defense attorney as soon as possible.

2. NRCA OSHA Investigative Inspections

An investigative inspection is usually brought on by an accident that occurred on a job site and resulted in the fatal injury or hospitalization of three or more employees. When this type of situation occurs, OSHA will send a compliance officer to investigate the accident. OSHA’s primary objective is to uncover the underlying cause of the accident and determine if any OSHA standards were violated.

Once the hazard has been removed or contained, an OSHA compliance officer will perform an investigative inspection. During such inspections, the compliance officer may conduct interviews with supervisors, employees, as well as first responders and enforcement officers. The compliance office will also make note of the site conditions, and transcripts of any interviews will typically be printed and presented to the interviewees to review and sign.

3. NRCA OSHA Employee Complaint Inspections

Current and former employees have the right to contact OSHA and submit a complaint if they believe that their employer is in violation of an OSHA standard. While the employee may choose to remain anonymous, the complaint must include specifics about the alleged violation and must be signed by the person submitting the complaint. If OSHA determines that the employer is in violation based on the details provided in the complaint, a compliance officer will be sent to the job site to perform an inspection. It is important to note that the inspection may not be limited to the contents of the complaint, and the compliance officer may ask to inspect other areas.

4. NRCA OSHA Programmed Inspections

Programmed inspections are performed as a way to further reduce levels of hazards in specific industries, such as the construction industry. Job sites that are selected for programmed inspections are chosen based on a random selection or number of criteria such as rate of occurrence of injury, citation history, abd employee exposure to hazardous substances on the job site.

5. NRCA OSHA Follow-Up Inspections

When violations are found during an inspection, OSHA will usually give the employer an opportunity to address or contest the violation. Typically, when OSHA upholds the citation, a follow-up inspection is performed to ensure that all violations have been addressed. If the employer fails to do so, the compliance officer will inform the employer that they are subject to a “Failure to Abate” the alleged violation and may face additional penalties until the violations are corrected.

If you received an OSHA violation, please contact our office today at 813.579.3278 or submit our contact request form to speak with a NRCA OSHA defense attorney.

Disclaimer: Cotney Construction Law does not provide legal counsel to the NRCA, but is a member and provides legal services to many other member companies.

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.