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5 Reasons for OSHA Inspections - Altman

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) protects workers by setting guidelines that govern workplace safety. Thousands of OSHA safety standards apply to employers in four industry groups: General Industry, Construction, Maritime, and Agriculture. The least specialized of the four groups, General Industry covers the largest number of workers and worksites in the United States.

While covered employers are supposed to follow safety standards all the time, official OSHA inspections happen only occasionally. OSHA is a small federal agency; even with state partners, it has only around 1,850 inspectors responsible for the health and safety of 130 million workers. That translates to about one OSHA compliance officer for every 70,000 U.S. workers.

OSHA Inspection Priorities

So what determines whether OSHA inspectors will visit a worksite? Inspection frequency varies by state, industry, and employer size, but the following events and circumstances can trigger OSHA inspections of your workplace:

  1. Imminent Danger: Imminent danger circumstances involve hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm to workers. Compliance officers will ask employers to correct these dangers immediately or remove employees who are at risk. This type of concern receives top priority for OSHA safety inspections.
  2. Severe Injuries and Illnesses: Employers must report all severe workplace injuries and illnesses–defined as death, hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye–to OSHA. All work-related fatalities result in OSHA investigations. Other serious injuries may also trigger an inspection, depending on the nature of the accident and the circumstances surrounding it.
  3. Complaints and Referrals: Employees have the right to file a complaint about OSHA safety violations or other dangers in the workplace. These allegations also receive high priority for OSHA inspections. Federal law protects employees from retaliation for raising these concerns, but workers can also choose to file complaints anonymously. Additionally, OSHA inspections may occur as a response to referrals from other agencies, individuals, or organizations.
  4. Targeted Inspections: OSHA conducts scheduled inspections of specific high-hazard industries or individual worksites with high rates of injuries. Industries that may receive these programmed inspections include manufacturing, primary metal operations, shipbreaking, trenching and excavation, and others.
  5. Follow-up Inspections: OSHA inspections may also check for the correction of violations cited during previous worksite inspections.

Whether planned in advance (programmed) or in response to a specific event (unprogrammed), OSHA safety inspections generally take place without employers knowing when or where they will occur.

OSHA Violation Lawyers

OSHA violation attorneys help workers who suffer accidents due to an employer’s failure to comply with safety standards. If you’ve been seriously hurt on the job, contact the skilled Boston work injury attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP. With decades of experience representing employees injured in all sorts of accidents, we have expert knowledge of OSHA workplace investigations, safety standards, and compliance issues.

Altman & Altman LLP can assist you with your workers’ compensation claim and also evaluate your case to see if you are entitled to any other legal remedies. If you believe your injury was caused by a hazardous workplace, contact us for your free consultation with a Massachusetts OSHA violation lawyer today.

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