OSHA Inspection Requirements

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By Anthony Stellerine

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration uses an inspection procedure to verify and enforce compliance with all applicable safety standards. The overall purpose of any OSHA inspection is to ensure the safety of all workers on the job site. Inspectors will cite OSHA's General Duty Clause, "which requires that every working man and woman...


Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F OSHA uses its own professionals to conduct inspections. These inspectors are typically industrial hygienists who are trained and experienced in applying OSHA standards to create safe working environments. They will study a company before arriving for any visit and prepare an inspection tailored to a particular industry and the pertinent safety standards.


Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Inspections typically occur with no notice or, at most, 24-hour advance notice. OSHA can, on occasion, concentrate on a particular industry for their inspections in a given year, such as oil refineries in the wake of the Texas City refinery accident. Inspections are conducted in the case of immediate danger being present, after a fatal accident, in response to a registered complaint or referral, as part of a program of inspections, or as a follow-up from previous inspections. NEVER refuse to admit an OSHA inspector even if no advance notice is given of their visit.

Inspection Process

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Any company under inspection must provide a company representative to accompany the inspector during his or her visit. The inspector will notify the company of the reasons for and scope of the inspection. An inspector is also allowed to talk to workers besides the company representative regarding the general safety climate of a company. The inspector may take pictures, measurements or any readings, as well as examine records and manuals.

Record Keeping

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Inspectors will always check a company's records; the following information must be available. All records of company injury, illnesses, and deaths must be presented including the total injuries as reported on OSHA form 300. OSHA poster 3165, which is the overview of worker safety and health rights, must be displayed in a prominent area, such as a break room or at the time clock. Most important, a copy of the company's hazard communication program detailing all hazards materials, safety data sheets, and employee training must be available. An incomplete hazard communication program is often a source of company citations.


Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Most inspectors offer employers a grace period to address minor violations. Always ensure all of the inspector's concerns that are brought up during the closing conference are addressed in a timely manner; a follow-up inspection can occur at any time.

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