How to plan for and manage an OSHA inspection

How to Prepare for an OSHA Inspection

An OSHA inspection can happen at any time. You won’t receive an advance warning and OSHA has been increasing the number of inspections they are performing, so it’s crucial to always be ready.

Catamount Consulting is a national safety and training consulting firm with an essential focus on safety. We want to help you plan, prepare, and complete a successful OSHA inspection.

OSHA violations do not always equate to poor site environments

OSHA violations are costly, with an average of $1,000.00 per violation and can reach a maximum of $134,937.00 per violation. Most sites will experience 1.5 violations per inspection. In the last two years, and with the introduction of COVID-19, non-compliance events have increased to 3 violations on average per inspection.

Few companies are trained or have a training plan for how to manage an OSHA inspection. It would help if you were prepared as the odds of inspection have doubled in 2020.

OSHA inspections are initiated from these familiar three sources:

  • Employee complaints
  • Your company is on the “C” Construction DOL target list
  • Random pass by an inspector who sees a blatant violation

Planning ahead for an OSHA inspection

Planning for the inspection before it happens can help you through the inspection and lessen the exposure. Being prepared creates a controlled and calm environment for you to interact with the inspector and work through the inspection with confidence.

Be prepared for the inspection

OSHA compliance assistance resources

A relaxed, controlled, and welcoming response to the inspector creates an environment for you to manage the situation.

  • Share your materials. Provide all necessary documents, including audits and the site safety plan to the inspector. Be prepared with some questions of your own.
  • Be ready to accompany the inspector. Assign an experienced employee to accompany an OSHA inspector. They are your ‘talker.’ Send along another person to take notes, pictures, and be your second set of ears. Never accompany an OSHA inspector by yourself.
  • Do not withhold any information or materials. You have the best chance of mitigating the damages and getting any allowable reductions while the inspector is on-site. Cooperate and answer any questions.
  • Practice an OSHA inspection. Check your materials and perform regular audits. Are they current? Do they reference employees that are no longer there? Updating these materials will save you an awkward discussion when the inspector is on-site. Practice going through an OSHA inspection as if the inspector were there. This simulation will prepare for success during an actual inspection.

What is a focused inspection?

In most cases, the inspection is performed as a walk around. The inspector and your team walk through the site performing the inspection, as described in the complaint. Ask the OSHA inspector for a focused inspection. A focused inspection targets the areas involved and limits the access and materials needed.

Learn more about OSHA inspections.

You can view our 30-minute webinar “Site Inspections – What is Changing and How to Prepare” presented by Scott McKenna, President of Catamount Consulting of New York, and Richard Wobby, Executive Vice President of AGC VT. Access the recording here.

OSHA inspections do not have to be intimidating or stressful. We hope we alleviated some stress. Visit our services page to learn more about on-site and office training in all facets of MSHA, OSHA, and firearms safety.