What if OSHA Stops In?
Abrams said that preparation for an OSHA inspection needs to occur well before any inspection. She said every contractor should train several people to accompany an OSHA inspector and that employees should be taught about their rights prior to any OSHA investigation.
Abrams said that if an OSHA representative visits your company to conduct an inspection it’s essential to remember:
- Nothing is off the record
- Employers are not required to give a statement during any inspections or investigations
- People who choose to speak with OSHA do have the right to council
- Management must never tell its employees not to speak to OSHA because this is considered obstruction of justice and/or conspiracy
- Do not record audio or video of interviews with OSHA
She said that of all the information available regarding OSHA, the most important to note is that nothing is off the record with OSHA. By taking the steps to properly document information and meeting the standards, companies can be better prepared to handle an OSHA inspection.
What's the 'General Duty Clause'?
The General Duty Clause is used by OSHA as a "gap filler" to supplant specific standards. Attorney Adele L. Abrams said that in some situations, if OSHA discovers a "known" hazard to which the company has exposed its employees — but for which OSHA doesn’t have a specific standard to point to — OSHA can cite the company under the General Duty Clause.