We wrote an article about Hazards OSHA Inspectors Commonly Look for During an OSHA Inspection recently that drew a lot of interest, so we thought we’d continue along those lines by writing this article, which will focus on the most common reasons OSHA will come and inspect your facility.
We’re also going to follow-up with another related article that explains what typically happens during an OSHA inspection, so watch for that one as well.
As always, your comments, insights, and experiences are welcome in the comments section at the bottom. Maybe you’re an OSHA inspector, or maybe you’ve been inspected. Let us know!
6 Most Common Triggers of an OSHA Inspection
According to this OSHA Inspections Fact Sheet, the six most common reasons for an OSHA inspection are those listed below.
As OSHA puts it in that fact sheet:
“OSHA cannot inspect all 7 million workplaces it covers each year. The agency seeks to focus its inspection resources on the most hazardous workplaces in the following order of priority: “
1-Situations the Present Imminent Danger
OSHA explains that hazards that could lead to deaths or serious harm are their top priority. So if OSHA somehow catches wind that you have situations like this at your workplace, know that you’re going to be top of their radar.
The fact sheet explains that an OSHA inspector will ask the employer to correct the hazard immediately or remove workers from the potential harm immediately.
2-Severe Injuries and Illnesses
An OSHA inspector is also going to draw a bead on your site if severe work-related injuries or illnesses occur there.
How will OSHA know about severe injuries and illnesses at your workplace? Because you’re required to report them. Remember, you need to report all work-related fatalities to OSHA within 8 hours and report all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye within 24 hours.
3-Health & Safety Complaints from Workers
OSHA encourages workers to notify OSHA if their are health and safety hazards or other violations at their workplace and provides a method for workers to do so anonymously online.
OSHA takes these reports from workers seriously and it’s a high priority for an OSHA inspection.
For more information, see this OSHA webpage about Worker Rights.
If another federal, state, or local agency, or even an individual (non-employee), organization, or the media tells OSHA about a potential hazard at workplace, they’ll give consideration to an inspection.
5-Targeted Inspections for Hazardous Industries or Workplaces
There are certain hazardous industries that OSHA intentionally targets for inspections.
In addition, OSHA also targets specific workplaces with a history of elevated rates of injuries and illnesses for inspections.
So these considerations can also factor into an OSHA inspection.
If an OSHA inspector has already visited your facilities and has cited you for safety violations, don’t be shocked if they come by and perform another inspection later to see if you’ve abated the hazards cited in the earlier inspection.
Conclusion: 6 Most Common Triggers of an OSHA Inspection
We hope you found this article on common causes of an OSHA inspection helpful.
It’s always a best practice (and just straight-up the right thing to do) to have a safe, healthy workplace regardless of the chances of an OSHA inspection. To that end, we recommend you begin a robust safety and health management program at work which includes effective safety training.
Since you’ve read this article on OSHA inspections, you may also be interested in the following OSHA-related articles:
- OSHA’s 10 Most Cited Violations
- 10 Hazards to Control before an OSHA Investigation
- What Happens During an OSHA Investigation (coming soon)
And don’t forget to download the free guide below while you’re here–it should be useful for hazard identification purposes.
Job Hazard Analysis Guide
Learn how to perform a job hazard analysis on the job with our free step-by-step guide.