What to Do During an OSHA Inspection

Safety Tips for Prevailing Wage Contractors

A site inspection from an OSHA officer can be stressful for any prevailing wage contractor. You may feel like you are walking on thin line during the inspection. Here are some tips and information to make the visit from OSHA bearable and smooth.

What triggers an inspection from OSHA?

The following events will trigger a visit and inspection from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in your project site.

·       One of your prevailing wage employees files a complaint regarding a safety issue in your company or project site.

·       A referral from other agencies, as part of enforcement for highly hazardous industries.

·       A catastrophic event that resulted to fatalities, hospitalization, amputation or eye loss of your hourly workers.

What do you do when an OSHA inspector knocks at your door?

You have a right to refuse the OSHA inspector entry to your premises, but the inspector can seek a warrant from a federal judge to gain access to your project site. If ever you plan to go against this warrant, you must have a legal counsel as this can backfire at you.

Normally, employers like you, do not refuse the OSHA inspector entry.

You can however, do the following:

·       Ask the OSHA inspector to wait (maximum of two hours) for the right person from your management team to talk with. This can be your Safety Officer/Manager who is well versed with the safety practices of your company.

·       Carefully and thoroughly document everything the OSHA inspector is inspecting. Take videos and pictures so you can review everything after inspection is done.

·       If your prevailing wage employees make use personal protective equipment, such as hard hats and safety shoes, make sure the OSHA officer uses them also during the site tour.

·       Regularly maintain your documents that pertain to safety and your OSHA 300 logs. The inspector may ask for them and it would be to your advantage if you are always prepared for it.

·       Ask for a legal counsel to be present when your managers and supervisors are interviewed by the inspector. Your managers are speaking in behalf of your company. A legal counsel present can ensure that the inspector’s questions are clear and are answered correctly.

·       Designate a person from your company who will manage the inspection on your end.

·       Ensure that your prevailing wage workers are well oriented with the safety practices of your company, through in-house seminars and training. They can be interviewed by the officer during the visit.

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