S. Amir Kohan

Occupational Safety and Health Act Enforcement

OSHA inspections may include the following:

• On-site visits that are conducted without advance notice Inspectors can just walk into a place of employment and request that you permit an inspection. You don’t have to agree unless the inspector has a search warrant. In the absence of the warrant, you can delay the inspection until your attorney is present.
• On-site inspections or phone/fax investigations Depending on the urgency of the hazard and agreement of the person filing the complaint, inspectors may telephone or fax inquiries to employers. The employer has 5 working days to respond with a detailed description of inspection findings, corrective action taken, and additional action planned.
• Highly trained compliance officers The OSHA Training Institute provides training for OSHA’s compliance officers, state compliance officers, state consultants, other federal agency personnel, and the private sector.

Inspection priorities include the following:
• Imminent danger Situations where death or serious injury are highly likely. Compliance officers will ask employers to correct the conditions immediately or remove employees from danger.
• Fatalities and catastrophes Incidents that involve a death or the hospitalization of three or more employees. Employers must report these incidents to OSHA within 8 hours.
• Worker complaints Allegations of workplace hazards or OSHA violations. Employees may request anonymity when they file complaints with OSHA.
• Referrals Other federal, state, or local agencies; individuals; organizations; or the media can make referrals to OSHA so the agency may consider making an inspection.
• Follow-ups Checks for abatement of violations cited during previous inspections are also conducted by OSHA personnel in certain circumstances.
• Planned or programmed investigations OSHA can conduct inspections aimed at specific high-hazard industries or individual workplaces that have experienced high rates of injuries and illnesses. These are sometimes called targeted investigations.

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