With over 7 million potentially hazardous workplaces in the U.S., it is very unlikely for OSHA to inspect each workplace individually, and thus, onsite and phone inspections are conducted based on a set of priorities. For higher-priority hazards, such as (1) imminent danger situations and (2) fatalities and catastrophes, unannounced inspections will be conducted by OSHA inspectors, who are referred to as compliance safety and health officers. For low-hazard industries and workplaces, phone or fax inspections will be conducted.
1. Preparation – Prior to the inspection, compliance officers will research all relevant worksite data, gather appropriate personal protective equipment, and prepare proper testing instruments to measure potential hazards.
2. Presentation of Credentials – Compliance officers will present their credentials. (E.g. photo and serial number)
3. Opening Conference – Compliance officers will explain why the workplace has been chosen for inspection and will select a representative to accompany the officers throughout the process.
4. Walkaround – The corporate representative will accompany OSHA’s compliance officer on a tour of the workplace. Upon completion, the compliance officer will review relevant injury and illness records.
5. Closing Conference – The compliance officer will discuss any safety violations and provide possible courses of action to take (e.g. contesting citations).
OSHA’s enforcement is currently at its highest level and is expected to continue to increase as the GHS deadline approaches. With citations reaching as high as $70,000 for an individual corporation, it is critical for employers to understand the upcoming deadlines and to comply with OSHA safety regulations.