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How to Prepare for an OSHA Inspection (A Quick Guide)

How to Prepare for an OSHA Inspection

An OSHA inspection can happen at any time – often when you least expect it. Therefore, it is essential to always be prepared for an inspection and to always meet the correct OSHA regulations. For any safety professionals, OSHA compliance should always be a top priority. This is not only for passing a random OSHA inspection but also for enhancing the safety of the workplace and employees to reduce accidents and incidents.

Safety officers need to ensure that any worksite is prepared against any kind of safety hazards and risks. In the event of a random OSHA inspection, employers should always have their site up to scratch. Below is a guide on everything you need to know about preparing for a safety inspection.

Knowing What to Expect in an OSHA Inspection

In the event of a surprise inspection, you should know what to expect and how things will take place. When the inspector arrives, make sure that they show you their credentials. The inspection will then start with a meeting.

It is important to notify everyone on site that OSHA is present. During the meeting, you will get to understand why the inspection is being carried out – whether it is a random visit or if it is due to a complaint.

The inspector will then take a look around the premises and may want to interview some employees and take a look at training documents. They can take photos or notes if they want to. It is important to know your rights as an employer in these situations. All information from the inspection is confidential, and the inspection should occur within a reasonable time frame.

The inspection ends with another meeting. OSHA inspectors are not able to issue citations, but they can provide recommendations on them. However, the closing meeting is a good time to discuss any issues that the inspector may have noticed and what your appeal rights are around these.

During an inspection, always be polite and cooperative. This will make the process run smoother and allow all parties to reach a reasonable conclusion.

Tips for Preparing for an OSHA Inspection

To make sure that your workplace is ready for an OSHA inspection, we have highlighted a few key points to maintain.

Regular Hazard Assessments

For any workplace to stay up to date with best safety practices, it is essential to perform regular hazard assessments. It is important to do these for each different type of job that takes place on the site. This is to make sure that you can identify every possible hazard in each position.

Doing so enables employers to find ways to address and reduce the risk involved with these hazards. A proper job hazard analysis is a requirement by OSHA.

The only way to be able to actually understand the kind of safety hazards in a workplace is to perform regular hazard assessments. All employees must be made aware of the various hazards that exist in their workplace.

Perform Safety Training

After identifying all the safety hazards present, you need to conduct proper workplace safety precautions and training for all employees in all areas of the workplace.

You need to keep every employee up to date with safety training and relevant safety procedures. Having an official OSHA poster that highlights employee rights is also important for any work environment.

Organized Responsibilities

When a safety inspector comes to visit, the various responsibilities involved in the inspection should be assigned to certain people on the team. Maintaining clear organization within your workplace or on-site will work in your favor for any OSHA inspection.

One person should have the responsibility of meeting with the OSHA inspector and providing them with all relevant documentation. They will need to be kept up to date with all workplace policies and training documents.

Regular Internal Auditing

You should also perform regular reviews on how you plan to keep everything up to date with regards to a possible OSHA inspection. There should be a routine system in place to check up on the necessary safety documentation and paperwork.

You need to periodically check up on training systems as well. This will help ensure that you administer and record staff training properly.

As a manager of a work site or an employer, you should actually do your own OSHA inspections on a regular basis. This should involve taking a walk through the facility and checking up on each element that an OSHA inspector would look at. Doing this will help you to make sure that everything stays in line with the appropriate requirements.

Record Keeping

No matter how much training and safety inspecting you may do in the workplace, it won’t mean anything to an OSHA inspector if there are no clear records of it. Maintaining strong record-keeping systems is essential!

You need to make sure that your workplace properly documents every training course and safety policy. Store these safely in an accessible place so that you can find them easily in the event of an inspection.

Employees also need to be aware of all relevant safety policies and should be able to access documents on them at any time.


Something that OSHA inspectors want to see is a workplace that is well and truly organized. This will help them to see you as a company that has everything in line and knows how to handle and respond to issues.

As mentioned above, all relevant documents and records need to be easily accessible. Any injury logs need to be kept up to date and leave nothing out. If the inspector can tell that your business is well organized and running smoothly, then they could assume that you handle safety protocols well.

Record the Inspectors Observations

During an inspection, whoever goes along with the inspector should take a notepad, and possibly a camera, along with them. Whenever the inspector takes a note about something, the relevant person should do so as well.

This allows for good internal records of any potential issues and a better understanding of what you may need to sort out. Having a useful kit including a flashlight and tape measure could be an advantage here.

Know Your Rights

Being able to comply with the OSHA inspection is important, but employers and employees need to know their rights in case any inspection takes place.

For example, employees don’t have to submit to an interview by inspectors if they don’t want to and they do not have to sign any witness statements. Employers can also refuse for the inspection to be videotaped and they need to know that any inspection that takes place is confidential.

Before an inspection even occurs, everyone in the organization needs to be up to date with their rights and should know what they can and can’t do in the event of an inspection.

Final Thoughts

Many employers may fear the idea of an OSHA inspector appearing out of nowhere and knocking on their door for an inspection. While these instances can be stressful, being properly prepared for them will make the entire process a breeze.

To prepare for an OSHA inspection, safety professionals should know what to expect. Having the proper safety procedures in place, maintaining clear documentation, and keeping all employees up to date on the correct safety protocol is crucial. If you want to stay a step ahead, consider a comprehensive OSHA compliance and safety app to help you protect your workers from harm.

Having a well-organized workplace that keeps up the correct safety and hazard prevention techniques will make any inspection a smooth and positive experience.