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What to Do When OSHA Shows Up To Your Business?

No one likes a surprise OSHA inpsection. However, it’s inevitable if you are running a construction business. So, this guide is created to tell you what the basic do’s and don’ts should be considered when OSHA knocks on your door. Make sure you have conducted a safety meeting within 6 months related to OSHA inspection so your workers are prepared for it.

OSHA is a federal agency that performs inspections in order to find out any violations of workplace safety protocols at the job sites. Workplace safety is the responsibility of both employees and employers. These OSHA inspection are the most crucial part of identifying and rectifying potential hazards in workplaces, but they might be intimidating for business owners.

That is why it is important to learn what to do during a a surprise OSHA inspection.

So without any delay, let’s jump in.

What To Do During A Surprise OSHA Inspection

Once you have been prepared and understand how to navigate a planned or unplanned OSHA visit, it will make the whole process smoother and less stressful. You need to remember all these valuable tips to make your OSHA inspection search remains uneventful.

Surprise OSHA Inspections: How To React

1. Know Employer Rights & Responsibilities 

One of the first steps to consider is to prepare your organization and employees for surprise inspections. As an employer, it is crucial to be well-informed about the rights provided by the OSHA, which enable you to establish and uphold robust safety protocols within your organization. This not only ensures the security of your workplace but also enhances its standing in the eyes of OSHA inspectors, thereby mitigating the risk of substantial OSHA penalties.

You must make sure you have complied with federal safety regulations, promoted a culture of safety within the organization, and ensure that you rectify workplace hazards that could jeopardize employee health and safety. 

2. Be Polite & Professional With The OSHA Inspector

When an OSHA compliance inspector comes to your place, the receptionist or guard needs to escort the officer immediately to a waiting area and quickly notify the pre-designed employee about the arrival of the inspector. Keep in mind that “first impressions last forever”. So, never put the officer in the waiting area for a long time.

After this, you need to conduct the opening conference in a meeting room and make sure you treat the agent with kindness and courtesy. Remaining calm and cooperative is crucial for surprise OSHA inspections. Don’t panic and respectfully ask for their identification. OSHA inspectors are authorized to do unplanned inspections. So, when OSHA knocks and you are uncooperative, this can lead to bigger problems. 

3. Provide Accurate Information

It is important to provide crucial and accurate answers to the OSHA inspector’s questions. You can show documentation that you have regularly performed safety and security checks at your workplace. You need to appoint one designated representative who will accompany the inspector throughout the inspection process. Make sure the employee should be knowledgeable about your workplace safety policies, procedures, and employee safety training.

Remember, record-keeping is the most important part of OSHA inspection. You must maintain records of safety training, meetings, and any corrective actions that have been taken to address different hazards. This will show your commitment to OSHA safety laws and standards. Having a well-documented safety data will make your case a lot more credible.

4. Remain Extremely Honesty 

You need to be cautious with your response during OSHA inspection interviews. Yet, honesty is crucial, but avoid giving them unnecessary information. Make sure you have answered their question accurately and concisely. Do not try to elaborate on your answer that might be daunting for you.

Try to perform a self-audit regularly, this will aid you in keeping detailed records of your inspection procedure. Sometimes the OSHA compliance officer takes pictures and videos, so you can keep them as records of your OSHA inspection process. This document must be valuable when you need to contest citations and penalties in the future.

5. Contact Your Attorney Immediately 

You have a right to contact your attorney during the inspection. However, OSHA compliance officers only wait for a brief period of time before starting the inspection. If you ever report an injury or accident to OSHA, you must speak with your lawyer as soon as possible to avoid and be ready for an inquiry.

When dealing with OSHA matters, it’s advisable to consult with legal counsel who specializes in occupational safety and health law. They can provide guidance, represent your interests, and help you navigate the inspection process effectively.

7. Be Caution About Signing Statements

You need to be cautious during the OSHA closing conference. If you do not agree with any of the OSHA officer’s conclusions, keep yourself polite and composure. You can ask questions in an appropriate and respectful manner. Do politely investigate OSHA with inquiries to learn more about the reasons behind OSHA’s findings.

If the inspectors identify immediate hazards that could harm employees, it is your responsibility to address them promptly. OSHA may issue citations for serious violations, but showing good faith by fixing imminent dangers can help mitigate penalties. Make sure that you do not sign any document or acknowledge any violation unless they exactly reflect what you said to the OSHA inspector. 

Reason When OSHA Visits Your Business

There are lots of reasons behind OSHA surprise inspection, but most of them might be triggered due to safety violations, severe accidents, whistleblower complaints, or fatalities. There is a list when an OSHA inspector comes to your door for safety inspection;

1. Due to Imminent Danger

When they have listed any severe hazard that leads to the death of an employee OSHA will arrive at your place.

2. Catastrophic Accidents

Any fatalities must be reported within 8 hours at the workplace and any amputations, hospitalization, inpatient, or sight losses should be reported within 24 hours.

3. Employee Complaints

When an employee complains to OSHA about unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, they may find any alleged safety violations.

4. Program Inspection 

OSHA inspects industries when they find a higher rate of accidents at working sites.

5. Follow-Up Inspection

To make sure the cited violations have been verified or not, they perform follow-inspection. 


While a surprise OSHA inspection can be challenging, being well-prepared and knowledgeable about your rights and responsibilities can make the process more manageable. Remember that OSHA’s primary goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of your employees, and cooperation with inspectors demonstrates your commitment to that goal. One of the ways to steer clear of any fines is to enroll your employees in OSHA 10 hour constuction and OSHA 30 hour construction courses. 

By following these tips and maintaining a proactive approach to workplace safety, you can navigate surprise inspections with confidence and minimize potential violations.