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What to expect: OSHA Inspection

An OSHA inspector just showed up at your facility, what should you expect?
While each inspection will be different based on the specific circumstances, you can expect them to follow their field handbook along with federal, state, and local regulatory guidelines. Upon arrival expect the inspector to have researched company history of incidents, and then they will explain why they are on site. If you have reported an incident like a fatality or an amputation you can expect them to focus on that specific incident while gathering information, taking pictures, performing interviews, reviewing procedures, policies and more. In an event like this it is crucial to cooperate and provide whatever information the inspector needs.

A programmed, referral or complaint-based inspection can be more, and multiple OSHA standards may be referenced. There is a priority list of inspections that OSHA follows to make sure that they are addressing the most serious hazards. Starting with imminent danger -> employee injury, illness, death -> worker complaints -> referrals -> targeted inspections -> follow up. In more general inspections there will most likely be an informal conference that is held before the actual walk-through, where an explanation of the inspection is given to management. Once the walkthrough is completed, a closing conference will be held, and the official report process will begin. Ultimately, every inspector just wants to ensure that employees go home on a day-to-day basis, so you should be working diligently to ensure they have everything they need to successfully do their job.

Kevin Yurt
Safety Consultant