In 2018, the total number of federal inspections conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), surpassed 32,000 in total. For State Plan inspections, the total number nearly reached 41,000. OSHA’s budget continues to increase annually and the federal agency is committed to monitoring job sites and issuing citations to workplaces that are in violation of their rules and regulations.
Regardless of the size of your construction project, if you breach OSHA’s health and safety standards, you may be penalized. In this brief article, a Texas OSHA lawyer will discuss the priority system used by the government agency to perform safety inspections. Understanding OSHA’s priority system may just help you avoid a citation. Remember, if you were issued a citation by OSHA and you want to challenge this penalty, our Texas OSHA attorneys are only a phone call away.
OSHA’s Three Top Priorities for Inspection
It’s important to understand OSHA’s methods for conducting an investigation to ensure that you remain compliant with their safety standards. OSHA has a priority system in place for inspecting a workplace that includes the following:
- First Priority: OSHA’s primary reason for conducting an immediate inspection is to asses cases that are considered “an imminent danger.” These situations are defined as “a workplace hazard that puts you at immediate serious risk of death or serious physical harm.” Examples of imminent danger include an unstable trench, exposed electrical wiring, or exposure to fumes, gases, and toxic substances.
- Second Priority: OSHA’s second priority includes situations involving a fatality or catastrophe. Any accident that results in three or more hospitalized workers will require OSHA to investigate the work area where the incident transpired. It’s important to note that employers are legally required to report any of these types of incidents within eight hours of the accident occurring.
- Third Priority: The third priority is the most common form of inspection including those that occur after a complaint is made regarding the safety of the workplace. If OSHA receives a complaint from a worker and believes a safety inspection is warranted, they will begin the process required to conduct an inspection of the workplace.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.