What happens during an OSHA inspection?

During an on-site OSHA inspection, OSHA compliance officers first research the workplace that they will visit. They will look over previous site inspections, taking note of any citations or specific areas of concern, industry operations, and various compliances that may apply to the workplace.

After this important preparation, the inspectors will know what types of personal protective equipment will be necessary, if any, along with testing equipment. The OSHA inspectors would then be ready to safely inspect all necessary aspects of the workplace.

When arriving at the on-site inspection, the OSHA compliance officers will display their credentials to the employer and explain why the inspection is taking place and the scope of the entire inspection.

After the scope of the inspection is explained, the inspector, with the employer and employee representatives, performs a walk-through of the workplace. It is at this stage in the process that potential hazards will be inspected.

Compliance to specific OSHA standards will also be inspected. This could include the posting of OSHA complaint signage, the use of necessary safety equipment like safety googles or high-visibility vests, and that proper monitoring of hazards is carried out.

During the walk-through, OSHA inspectors can consult with a reasonable amount of employees privately to discuss the safety of the workplace. Inspectors try to minimize the impact that they have on current operations, limiting any downtime as much as possible.

OSHA compliance officers will also review injury and illness reports, and the posting of the official OSHA poster.

Displaying the poster is a requirement for all employers covered by OSHA, but employers with previous versions of the poster do not need to replace it with new versions. Some states with OSHA-approved plans may have their own version of the poster that needs to be displayed.

After the walk-through, OSHA officials discuss the findings of the inspection with the employer and employee representatives. It is now that officials will make any potential recommendations to the employer, along with possibly proposed penalties and citations. If necessary, a follow-up inspection could be scheduled.

What do I need to pass an OSHA inspection?

There are many elements of a safe workplace that factor into passing an OSHA inspection. Dependent on your industry, the posting of official safety signs, use of protective equipment, and proper training could help in successfully passing an inspection. Learn more here.

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