Whenever the government is involved in anything whatsoever, there are bound to be pages upon pages of rules and regulations which must be complied with. So it is with OSHA, the federal body that is charged with seeing to it that businesses comply with health and safety standards. OSHA is the acronym for Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and as mentioned, they are a government body with all the duties and powers granted by law. In other words, you had better cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s.
What Are the Federal Regulations You Should Be Concerned With?
Each industry is given the codes to comply with upon opening that business. This is what you refer to when a complaint has been lodged against your company and this is also what may save you in the end. If the complaint has nothing whatsoever to do with the safety codes you are responsible for, then chances are you will come through an inspection with flying colors. In other words, some complaints are just plain frivolous and OSHA will see that upon inspecting your premises.
Will OSHA Always Conduct an Inspection after Receiving a Complaint?
Here is where there really is no way to predict whether or not OSHA will conduct an inspection because it really depends on the nature and seriousness of the complaint. Federal regulations require you to be compliant with OSHA safety standards and if the complaint even intimates that you have violated any of those standards, they will take a serious look at the complaint. If they determine that an inspection is warranted, you really need to prepare for your OSHA safety inspection. You can find checklists online that can assist you before the inspector arrives.
Routine Inspections May Also Alarm You!
Federal regulations state that OSHA does not need to give you advance warning when conducting an inspection, but it is your right to request they get an inspection warrant before granting them access to the premises. On the OSHA fact sheet, they make it clear that it is virtually impossible to inspect the seven million businesses they are responsible for overseeing, so chances are that if an inspector shows up, someone filed a complaint. However, don’t be alarmed if an inspector comes by. As often as they can, an OSHA inspector will check out your business.
Your Rights as a Business Owner
If you need to ask them to come back with a warrant, this gives you ample time to make sure you are in compliance. Prepare well and you should have no problems. You have the right to ask why they want to conduct an inspection, just as you have the right to ask them to come back with a warrant. Remember, if you feel you need time to get a few things better organized, this is always an option. The best advice, however, is to refer to your OSHA literature periodically to ensure you are in compliance at all times. Refusing an inspector entry just may open a can of worms you aren’t ready for, so learn those steps on preparing for an OSHA inspection and keep safety hazards to a minimum.
Understanding OSHA regulations is easier if you take the time to read them.