The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) spends a majority of their time conducting inspections of construction workplaces and/or job sites. This is done to make sure the construction companies are staying in compliance of OSHA’s health and safety standards. To be prepared for these inspections, it’s crucial that employers and employees remain prepared and have an understanding of their rights.
As OSHA defense attorneys, we know that not all of OSHA’s inspections will be announced beforehand. There is always the possibility that employers will go into work one day and see an OSHA inspector at their front door. It’s important for employers to be aware of the fact that they have the right to deny the inspector if they wish to. This is especially recommended if the management representative or person familiar with the safety policies and procedures is unavailable or not in the office. Companies can also request that the inspector obtain a warrant and return at a later time or date.
What is an Inspection Warrant?
In the construction industry, an inspection warrant is an administrative warrant, not a criminal one. It’s not unusual or hostile behavior for an employer to deny an inspector access if they are not in possession of a warrant. In fact, insisting on a warrant may even preserve some rights that may be lost when employers allow a voluntary inspection. By asking for a warrant, a company will have all of the necessary people available for the inspection (typically conducted within the following 30 days).
Sometimes, companies will feel uneasy about asking for a warrant from the inspection. They feel that if they do, they will come off as hostile and their inspection results may result in a harsher treatment. This is an incorrect belief. There are many variables that can affect the results of an inspection, but asking for a warrant isn’t one of them.
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.