OSHA Inspections: Before, During, and After

Every manufacturer should be prepared at any given moment for an OSHA officer to show up for an inspection of your worksite. The visit could be planned, or it could very well be a surprise. Be prepared to pass the test and know what to expect ahead of time—including before, during, and after the inspection has been completed.

What To Do Before An OSHA Inspection

Know where all OSHA documents are located. When the OSHA officer arrives, you should be able to easily get up and grab important documents they’ll be looking for including OSHA 300 logs, injury and illness protection program, and your organization’s safety plan and procedures. Once the officer arrives to your facility, make sure you ask for proof of credentials before they begin the inspection. You should also ask for a clear explanation as to why the inspection is happening. Is it routine? Did one of you employees file a complaint? It could be due to a number of different scenarios.

What to Expect During an OSHA Inspection

An OSHA inspection is comprised of three main events: the opening conference, the physical inspection, and a closing conference.

The Opening Conference: this is an initial meeting conducted before the physical inspection begins. Be prepared to ask for the reason for the inspection, establish the scope, and learn the protocol for any employee interviews that take place. This is also the time to have all possible requested documents prepared. If the reason for the inspection was due to an employee complaint, he or she has the right to request a copy, which will be explained during this meeting.

The Physical Inspection: at this point in time the OSHA inspection officer will do a walk-through of your entire working facility. This will include a lot of note-taking and photography. The inspector will be looking for any safety hazards on the floor and closely examining equipment. If they wish to conduct employee interviews, make sure you have a designated separate space for them to do so.

The Closing Conference: no matter the outcome, know your rights. OSHA inspectors cannot issue citations themselves, as it’s up to the area director. During the closing conference, your inspector can give you recommendations if you’re expectations if you’re expected to receive any citations. They will also explain important details such as next steps and deadlines. The most important thing you can do during the closing conference is to take detailed notes. If you’re cited with any violations, let your OSHA officer know immediately if you’ve taken the steps to correct the issue.

What To Do After An OSHA Inspection

Always keep documentation from the OSHA Inspection such as notes and photos in a designated and safe spot that’s easy to refer back to as needed. Next steps after the inspection will vary depending on whether or not your organization receives citations. If you do not expect to receive any citations, request a Notice of No Violation after Inspection from the OSHA officer who performed your inspection. If you do expect a citation, take immediate action upon receiving it. Organizations have just 15 working days to request an appeal to an appeals board if you feel the citation was unjust.

For more information on OSHA inspections, check out the other blog posts in our OSHA series. If you’re ready to take the next step in preparing for a visit, we’d be happy to help guide you through the MAC Safety Assessment. Contact us here to set up a consultation.