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Cochran Firm Blog, Philadelphia

What Happens During Workplace Inspections?

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the government agency responsible for enforcing occupational safety and health regulations in the workplace. Part of this enforcement includes workplace inspections, but it would be impossible for OSHA to inspect every single workplace.

Therefore, there are only certain events that would trigger an inspection on a business:

  • Investigation of imminent dangers
  • Fatality and catastrophe investigations
  • Investigations of complaints
  • Programmed inspections

Who conducts the inspection?

OSHA inspections are conducted by a compliance officer, usually without advanced notice. However, they must be conducted at a reasonable time, generally during the employer’s normal work hours, and in a reasonable manner. The business owner holds the right to deny entry to an inspector and demand that they obtain a warrant, but getting a warrant is often simple and speedy for OSHA officials.

Employer/Employee Rights

During the inspection, employers and employees are entitled to accompany the OSHA inspector around the premises. For an inspection in response to an employee complain, for example, expansion of the inspection to other areas of the workplace may be prohibited. Otherwise, the inspector can investigate any necessary portion of the workplace they feel fit. In addition, the compliance officer may interview employees privately during the course of the inspection.

The Results

If a workplace inspection reveals any violations of safety and health regulations, a citation will be issued. The citation will charge you with a particular violation, along with the next steps to correct or contest the citation. It is also important to note that citations are issued only to employers, whether the violation may have actually been caused or committed by an employee.

Many workplace accidents are due to unsafe conditions and can be prevented. If you suspect yourself to be in an unsafe workplace or have been injured due to an unsafe environment, you should consider filing a complaint with OSHA. If you are in need of a personal injury lawyer or need guidance on how to handle your case, call us today at (800) 969-4400 to set up a free consultation.