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If OSHA comes knocking, it is not advised to refuse entry! Refusing entry only delays the inevitable and can create an adversarial atmosphere. An OSHA inspector can easily acquire a search warrant or subpoena if they choose to do so.  Your first step should be to verify their credentials. Their official ID will include a photo, name, and office. You can also call your local OSHA office to verify the person’s identity. Once verified, escort the OSHA representative to a conference room or office where they can settle in. In the meantime, you should make present the person who is most familiar with your workplace safety programs. Do not let the inspection proceed until management is aware and present. You might consider calling Ethan Allen HR Services at this time for additional support.

OSHA inspections take place as a result of

  • Catastrophes and fatalities
  • Employee complaints
  • Referrals, which can come from any entity, including another government agency
  • Programmed inspections, in which worksites are randomly selected, or based on emphasis programs, injury rates or previous citations

The OSHA inspector should be able to explain to you what prompted their visit. Do not offer a full tour of your facility, rather, you should try to guide the inspector to the specific area of focus. OSHA is required to protect trade secrets, therefore you should allow the inspector to document and photograph relevant areas.  Keep detailed notes of the discussions, inspection, documentation provided, etc. OSHA, being a division of the Department of Labor, has the right to interview employees without the presence of the employer. Do not obstruct their inspection.

To discuss all of the measures involved in implementing a robust safety program, or to request a workplace safety audit from Ethan Allen HR Services, please contact