Know Your Rights During an OSHA Investigation

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is now targeting dental practices. When OSHA knocks on your door for a surprise investigation, the process is very intimidating.You should always be prepared and know your rights during an OSHA investigation.

THE EMPLOYER MAY:
  • ask for the credentials of the OSHA officer and receive information regarding the basis of the investigation
  • receive an anonymous copy of the written complaint
  • contact legal counsel before the investigation commences
  • strategize whether or not the investigation should be allowed without a search warrant
  • determine the scope (where the inspector will be permitted to go and what operations the inspector may observe) of the inspection at the site
    • allowing too broad of an inspection puts the workplace at risk of incurring additional violations
  • assemble a team to walk around with the OSHA officer
THE EMPLOYER SHOULD CONSIDER:
  • Regarding an employee complaint:
    • Is the complaint valid?
    • Does it properly identify the correct workplace, employer, or equipment?
  • Regarding an accident report:
    • Did the accident that occurred actually involve the practice?
    • Is the accident scene still in existence, or has the scene been changed?
  • Regarding a programmed inspection:
    • Does the practice fall within the programmed inspection criteria?
    • Does the employer have a basis to challenge its selection under the program criteria?
AN EMPLOYER SHOULD:
  • prepare employees for what to expect during an OSHA inspection
  • inform employees of their rights during an OSHA interview
  • terminate the interviews with the assistance of legal counsel if and OSHA inspector becomes confrontational or unreasonably disruptive
THE EMPLOYEES HAVE THE RIGHT TO:
  • choose whether to accept or decline an interview invitation
  • request the presence of a manager during the interview
  • legal counsel
  • end the interview at any time
* Employees must answer all of the questions directed by the OSHA officer truthfully and without speculation. The practice owner may not retaliate in any way should an employee agree to participate in an interview and answer questions truthfully. *