For OSHA Construction and General Industry

Surviving an OSHA Inspection Starts With Safety Priorities

OSHA Inspection survival Tips and TricksAn OSHA Inspection can be the most critical activity for any company. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was established in 1971 to protect workers’ safety and health. OSHA’s primary purpose is to monitor workplace safety in the United States. According to the agency’s website, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) mission is to ensure the safety and health of American workers by implementing and enforcing standards as well as providing training, outreach, and education.

Since OSHA’s inception in 1971, workplace fatalities have been reduced by 65 percent and occupational illnesses and injuries have declined by 62 percent. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) upholds its standards, mission, and purpose by conducting routine inspection at work sites throughout the United States. In 2011, OSHA completed 40,648 total federal inspections and 52,056 state plan inspections. OSHA employs 2,200 inspectors nationwide to monitor the health and safety of approximately 130 million workers. According to statistics, the agency inspects fewer than 50,000 of the more than 8 million work sites across the country each year. OSHA prioritizes inspection sites based on fatalities/catastrophes, imminent danger, and work sites with employee complaints. This article will provide basic tips on surviving an inspection if an OSHA inspector visits your worksite.

Be Prepared

An OSHA Inspection  can occur without notice. Workplace health and safety should be a priority every day. Work sites should operate as if they going to be inspected at all times. Workers should always be focused on maintaining health and safety standards. A qualified and trained member of management or safety professional should be available to handle OSHA inspections as well as other investigations at all times.

Get a Mock OSHA Inspection To See Where You Stand

Before OSHA shows up on on your doorstep, have an OSHA-trained consultant do a walk-through of your facility or site and perform a Mock OSHA Inspection.  The end result will be the equivalent of a real inspection, and you can work with the consultant to remediate any vulnerabilities or potential violation.  For more information on mock OSHA inspections click here.

Be Familiar with Your Rights

You should be educated on the rights of employers in regards to an OSHA inspection. In addition, you need to be up to date on your company policies. This information will prove to be crucial when deciding how to exercise your rights and proceed with the inspection.

Reason for the OSHA Inspection

Before the inspection starts, the purpose for the inspection should be clear. Documents prepared for the inspection by OSHA’s representative should be reviewed. Information regarding the purpose of the inspection is important and will enable you to make wise decisions on how to handle your legal rights as well as continue with the inspection process.

Interact with the Representative During the Entire OSHA Inspection

You would never allow a stranger to walk through your house without accompanying them. DO NOT ALLOW AN INSPECTOR TO WALK THROUGH YOUR FACILITY UNACCOMPANIED BY MANAGEMENT OR A SAFETY PROFESSIONAL. You have a right to walk through your facility with the OSHA representative.


Be sure to document the visit and take accurate notes. Make certain the notes are comprehensive and legible. In addition, you should have office supplies handy if necessary. You should take the same measurements and photographs as the OSHA inspector.

Limit Information Delivery

Do not provide unnecessary unrequested information. Supply answers to only the questions asked by the inspector. Offer only those documents requested by the inspector. Do not offer information not requested by the inspector. Always maintain appropriate OSHA documentation files and consult with company officials before distributing documents to OSHA officials.


Surviving an OSHA inspection can be challenging. You should maintain high professional standards and composure. It would not be beneficial to allow the situation to become uncomfortable or unprofessional.

OSHA Inspection Resources

The links below were used to write this article and provide valuable information on preparing for an OSHA inspection.

OSHA Statistics

OSHA Inspections