OSHA Has Arrived – With a Camera and Clipboard – Oh My?!?!!?! We Are Not in Kansas Anymore!

Related Attorney: Nelva J. Smith

Published: March 19, 2018

It is a normal Friday morning. The workplace is slowing down for the weekend, and most of management is off work for a long weekend. About 9:00 a.m. you are notified that a visitor has arrived in HR – you aren’t expecting a visitor – is it a vendor trying to sell you something?  NO – it is an OSHA inspector?!?!?!?!  What do you do if an OSHA inspector shows up to your workplace?  This article will provide you with some tips to be prepared when this occurs.

OSHA has a right to inspect your workplace.

It is highly unlikely that you will ever have advance notice of an OSHA inspection. Technically, OSHA cannot enter private premises for inspection purposes unless it first obtains the employer’s consent or a valid warrant authorizing the inspection.  Most inspections are based upon an employer’s consent and, if you believe it is best for OSHA to obtain a warrant prior to entering your workplace, it is recommended you seek legal counsel to assist you in that request.

Prior to OSHA showing up, you should have a plan in place as to what happens when OSHA does show up. It is important to have your team in place and for everyone on the team to know their roles.  Pick a team that includes members of management from HR, operations, safety, maintenance, and other departments as deemed necessary.  Have a back-up person in place in case someone from the team is out of the office.  Determine if the company wishes to have an employee representative also available to participate in the inspection (if non-union).  Once the team is in place, make sure that each member of the team has specific roles to perform during the inspection, e.g., one person takes pictures, one person takes notes, one person takes samples, etc.

Remember the basis of OSHA’s inspection abilities:

The “Opening Conference”

The Inspection

The “Closing Conference”


Following these tips will help ensure that you stay in “Kansas” and do not get off track when OSHA suddenly arrives at your workplace. However, if an inspection occurs due to a fatality, hospitalization and/or amputation, it is highly recommended that you seek legal counsel to assist you throughout the inspection process.  Inspections as a result of those incidents will more than likely lead to citations against the company with significant monetary penalties.

Stay informed. Sign up for our mailing lists.

Stay Informed

All of our news and resources are shared electronically. Select your preferred list(s) below.(Required)