Safety and Health

Safety inspections

You have the responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace.

Normally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducts inspections without advance notice. You have the right to require compliance officers to obtain an inspection warrant before entering the worksite, however.


OSHA focuses on the most hazardous workplaces by order of priority. For lower-priority hazards, an OSHA representative may contact you to describe safety and health concerns, following up with details. In such an instance, you must respond in writing within five working days, identifying any problems found and noting corrective actions taken or planned. If your response is adequate and the complainant satisfied, OSHA generally will not conduct an inspection.


If OSHA does conduct an inspection, you may select a representative, who has the right to accompany the Compliance Safety and Health Officer during the inspection. During the inspection, the Compliance Safety and Health Officer may point out apparent violations that can be corrected immediately. While the law requires that these hazards must still be cited with a proposed time period for correction and any associated penalties, prompt action is a sign of good faith on your part.


Following an inspection, you have both rights and responsibilities that are important to understand.

Male inspector with a clipboard looking up at a building.

We’re here to help.

We are committed to helping you understand your responsibilities as an employer. Many questions about your safety and health responsibilities may be answered by using the following elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors:

For additional assistance, please contact:

OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742)

OSHA’s area offices provide advice, education, and assistance to businesses and organizations who request help with occupational safety and health issues. In addition, OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential safety and occupational health advice. No citations or penalties are issued; the employer’s only obligation is to correct identified hazards.


Please note that the mining industry has its own set of safety and health standards, rules, and regulations, which are overseen by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Mining industry employers should contact MSHA at 202-693-9400 or

Need more information?

The elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors are a set of online tools developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under federal employment laws.