Tips for Florida Contractors: How To Handle An OSHA Inspection
The purpose of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is to protect the safety of millions of employees across the US, and the agency has specific rules for the construction industry. OSHA standards for construction cover such issues as fall protection, protective personal equipment (PPE), and use of tools. They also impose standards on ladders and scaffolding, since falls can lead to serious accidents on construction sites. Contractors are required to adhere or exceed construction standards, and OSHA enforces compliance by conducting inspections.
If OSHA comes to call for an inspection at one of your projects, it is critical to ensure compliance with all construction standards. For a random, routine inspection, you may not have notice and time to get the site in order. Following the law and safety regulations matters every day, and a Florida construction lawyer can advise you on compliance issues. You can also read on for some tips on how to handle an OSHA inspection.
During the OSHA Construction Site Inspection: When OSHA arrives, make sure you or a site manager is available to guide the official through the inspection. Employees should not be placed in this position. Overall, you should be professional, courteous, and responsive to the inspector’s concerns. Some specific tips include:
- Never shut down the site or claim to be too busy. This tactic is a classic sign of obstruction, which leads the investigator to make assumptions about safety hazards.
- As you move through the construction site, you or a manager should take pictures and review the same measurements as the inspector. This gives you a point of comparison in the event of allegations of safety violations.
- Make sure employees understand their rights during an interview with the OSHA official, but without coaching them. They need to know about written statements, recordings of the interview via audio or video, and signing documentation presented by OSHA.
Considerations After OSHA’s Inspection: Your first priority after an inspection is contacting a construction attorney, so you can plan ahead to defend against claims of safety violations. Your lawyer can assist with:
- OSHA’s requests for additional information, which can be too broad and not targeted to an issue in the inspection;
- When to provide results of an internal probe on the causes behind a citation or accident; and,
- Assessing whether OSHA is requesting privileged details that it is not entitled to review.
Importantly, your lawyer can advise you on whether fighting the citation benefits your situation. In some cases, it may be worthwhile to accept the penalty. A citation is typically a fine, along with an order to correct any problems with construction safety standards.
Discuss Concerns with a Florida Construction Law Attorney
OSHA officials may show up unexpectedly, so keeping the construction site safe at all times is an important task. Knowing some tips on how to deal with inspections is also useful, and Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. will advise you on additional recommendations. Please contact us today at 561-626-8880 or visit our website to schedule a consultation at our Jupiter, FL offices.