The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) makes many of its records available online. OSHA's jurisdiction includes private sector and government employees, but does not apply to the self-employed. Investigations are necessitated in such instances as:
- Imminent danger situations
- Fatalities or other catastrophes
- Complaints or referrals by employees or other agencies
- Workplaces in high-hazard industries
- Workplaces reporting high rates of injury or illness
- Follow-up at sites with previous violations
Inspections are conducted without advance notice either on-site or over the phone/fax. Following inspections, OSHA can issue a citation with penalties and dates of abatement related to alleged violations.
Information related to inspections, investigations and fines is published in several online locations:
- Establishment Search to identify inspections and associated enforcement actions at a specific establishment (1972 - Present)
- Search Inspections by SIC to identify inspections across an industry group (1972 - Present)
- Accident Investigation Search to access the text of Accident Investigation Summaries (1984 - Present)
- Inspection Information for specific information related to a known inspection
- Frequently Cited OSHA Standards to determine which OSHA standards are most common for a specified SIC code
Keep in mind: fines are often reduced following negotiation between OSHA and employers. Also keep in mind: OSHA's online system, while very comprehensive, doesn't contain original copies of inspector reports or notes. For these, submit a public records act request to the applicable state labor department.
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