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Workplace Safety


By April 1, 2014No Comments

The answer depends on the situation.  While most businesses will let the inspector in, you don’t necessarily have to do so.

Some experts believe that consenting to an OSHA inspection without a warrant is less troublesome, less costly, and more beneficial to the employer.

Others stress the potential benefits of requiring the agency to get a warrant before an inspection. For example: 1) The warrant might be narrowly written (many judges draw up warrants limited to the specific complaint in the affidavit, which might be more restricted  than the inspector would have without a warrant); 2) You might be able to buy some time (because the warrant might not be issued for up to 30 days, you’ll be able to remedy existing hazards or bring OSHA-required records into compliance) ; and 3) Your risk is small (because the agency has little discretion in fining and citations and  the settlement process is the same regardless of whether a warrant has been issued, there’s little risk of a greater penalty for insisting on a warrant).

If you do require an inspector to return with a warrant, review the document carefully

to make sure it describes the scope of the inspection in detail and has enough information to allow a determination of probable cause

As always, it’s wise to follow the Boy Scout motto and “Be Prepared.” Consult with your legal counsel ahead of time, so that you’ll be ready before an OSHA inspector knocks and you’re on the spot.  We’re also ready to offer our advice at any time.