Generally, OSHA inspections concentrate on the most hazardous areas found in the workplace. Industrial facilities and construction work sites, for example, are more likely to be inspected than an office building. OSHA normally conducts inspections without advance notice.
Going through the process of preparing your workplace for an OSHA inspection will help reduce accident rates, even if OSHA is not planning to inspect. Being prepared for an inspection, by anticipating issues that are likely to arise, makes it easier for the employer to be pro-active in addressing OSHA’s compliance concerns, which ultimately may persuade OSHA not to issue citations.
Below you will find some helpful tips that can help when preparing for an OSHA inspection.
- Assign responsibilities. Identify a person at your facility, such as a safety manager or the owner, who will be responsible for escorting the inspector.
- Always ask to see the inspector's identification. The ID will include the inspector’s photo, name, and office. It will not be a badge. Write down the inspectors name and office. Don’t hesitate to call the local OSHA office to confirm the identity of an inspector.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask why your facility or work site was chosen. Ask to see a copy of the written complaint, if there is one, before the inspection.
- Review the inspection timeline. Confirm with the inspector what he or she wants to see and do, and how long he or she expects to be at your workplace.
- Maintain accurate records. During the review portion of an inspection, the inspector will request all OSHA 300 forms (work related injury log).
- Your workers should receive OSHA standards related training and be made aware that an inspection is a possibility. Be aware that inspection officers can privately interview any employee.
- Request copies of any photos and monitoring results, the inspector obtained during their walk around.
- Know your rights. Before an OSHA inspector ever arrives on your doorstep, it’s a good idea to know your rights and your employee’s rights. Let employees know that they are not required to talk to OSHA. Although it is recommended that employees respond honestly to OSHA questions, they are never under any obligation or requirement to speak with OSHA .
Being well prepared for an inspection will help you get the best outcome should OSHA come knocking at your door. Throughout the entire investigation, be cooperative and responsive but remember that you have certain rights. It is your facility, and you have the right for the inspection to be conducted during a reasonable time (usually work hours), and in a reasonable manner.