Key Steps to Take Before, During, and After an OSHA Inspection

Author, Sam Clayton, Vice President, Construction Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Man in hard hat with clipboard

An OSHA officer can show up to your facility or worksite for any number of reasons: employee complaints, accidents, programmed inspections, sweeps, follow-up or a drive-by observation. In order to ensure a smooth inspection, we suggest you prepare before OSHA appears at your door. Here are some key steps to take before, during and after an OSHA inspection.

Before the Inspection

Every company should have a formal plan in place detailing what should be done before, during and after an OSHA inspection. This procedure should be site specific and available to all supervisors. Site specific information should include company contacts for the project if OSHA arrives, location of documents like OSHA 300 logs and the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP).  

Upon arrival of the OSHA inspection officer, the company should verify the officer’s credentials and try to determine why they are at the site. Before the opening conference begins, the employer should assign specific individuals to be the note taker and the photographer. It is also extremely important to remind everyone involved to be professional and treat the compliance officer with respect.

During the Inspection

Opening Conference: During the opening conference, you will want to establish the scope of the inspection, the reason for the inspection, and the protocol for any employee interviews or production of documents. If the inspection is triggered by an employee complaint, the employer may request a copy.

Physical Inspection: During the inspection, the OSHA compliance officer will conduct a tour of the worksite or facility in question to inspect for safety hazards. It is likely pictures will be taken by the compliance officer. Instruct your photographer to also take the same pictures and possibly additional pictures from different angels while the note taker should take detailed notes of the findings.

Closing Conference: At the closing conference, the OSHA compliance officer typically will explain any citations, the applicable OSHA standards and potential abatement actions and deadlines. It is important that during this process the company representative takes detailed notes and asks for explanations regarding any violations. If any of the alleged violations have been corrected, you will want to inform the OSHA compliance officer.

After the Inspection

If you are told no citations will be issued, contact the compliance officer and obtain a Notice of No Violation after Inspection (Cal/OSHA 1 AX). If you receive a citation, it is important to take immediate action because a company only has 15 working days after the inspection to notify the Appeals Board, if they choose to appeal the citation. Citations can be issued up to six months after the inspection, so it is important to watch your mail closely during this time.

For a proactive approach to OSHA inspections, contact the Consultation Services Branch for your state (i.e. Cal/OSHA) or Federal OSHA Consultation. They will be able to provide consultative assistance to you through on-site visits, phone support, educational materials and outreach, and partnership programs. 

Register for the "How to Survive an OSHA Visit" webinar hosted by KPA on Monday, June 25, 2018 from 11:00 am - 12:00 pm PST to learn about what OSHA looks for during an inspection.

For additional information, please contact Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc. at (619) 937-0164.