The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) mission is to assure the safety and health of workers by imposing standards. Inspecting workplaces is one of the tools OSHA uses to enforce those standards. These inspections can be tense because of the fines and penalties OSHA may impose.
OSHA does not have the resources to inspect every workplace, so inspections are prioritized. A business will usually only be inspected if one of the following conditions exist:
Most compliance officers arrive at workplaces during the employer's normal work hours without notice. Representatives of employers and employees may accompany the inspector as they examine the area of risk. The inspector may privately interview employees and ask the employer questions or ask to examine manuals and other incident related documentation.
As a business owner, you are guaranteed several rights including:
If the OSHA inspector finds violations you will be charged with a specific violation and given a timeframe to correct a condition. Should you choose to do so, a lawyer can help you with a defense to contest the charges or negotiate to have the citation amended.
Penalties range from $5,000 to $70,000. Penalties may be reduced based upon many factors including your cooperation in fixing the problem and the size of your business.
OSHA sanctions can be very severe and difficult to fight. If you are facing an investigation an experienced employment attorney can help you meet OSHA requirements. If you were recently inspected consult with an employment lawyer as the inspection is the beginning of a multi-step process and you may have some defenses.
Last Modified: 10-14-2014 03:31 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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