... The Way They Handled Their OSHA Inspection Did More Harm Than Good - 11/14/2016

Safety E-QuickTips

U.S. Compliance Systems, Inc.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Safety E-QuickTips is a weekly email designed to help Employers and Employees start their week with a short thought about safety in the workplace.

... The Way They Handled Their OSHA Inspection Did More Harm Than Good


As many of you know, I’ve represented hundreds of employers when they have been cited by OSHA and many of them more than once. While working with these employers, it has become clear that most thought they were providing a safe workplace for their employees and were actually shocked when they received citations from OSHA.

Also, I’ve come to realize that the way they handled their OSHA inspection did more harm than good.

Because of this and the fact that OSHA has recently increased their penalties by 78%, I thought it might be a good idea to review how to handle an OSHA inspection in a way that will most benefit your company.

Here are a few things you should understand when OSHA shows up at your workplace.

The first thing you should understand is that when an OSHA compliance officer arrives on one of your job sites, he/she has a distinct advantage. First, they have conducted many inspections while you, on the other hand, have had few inspections if any.

Secondly, you should understand OSHA is not there to help you; they are there to see if you are violating their regulations. In fact, often by the time you or your foreman has initial contact with an OSHA compliance officer, he/she has received a complaint regarding your company or has already documented some sort of violation to justify their impending citation.

So how your company handles an inspection can mean the difference between substantial fines and getting off with a compliment for a “job well done.”

Here’s a short list of what you might do:

  • Be courteous and honest, but don’t be a pushover.
  • Answer OSHA’s questions truthfully to the best of your ability.
  • If you don’t know the answer, say you don’t know the answer.·DO NOT VOLUNTEER INFORMATION on work you have done or are doing that is not directly in the context of the inspection.
  • Make sure the compliance officer is aware, if true, that you have a safety program in place, provide training for your employees, perform regular and frequent job site inspections, and enforce safety.
  • Never, never, never let a compliance officer write a statement for you to sign.

We have prepared an OSHA Inspection Checklist that can be used during an OSHA inspection. While not necessarily obvious, each question is vital in preparation of a successful closing conference and/or defense should a citation be issued. 

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Thanks for Reading and Please - Work Safe This Week!

Contact Information


U.S. Compliance Systems, Inc.
Phone: 1-888-475-5353
Fax: 1-888-925-5353
Website: www.uscompliancesystems.com
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