SLC 2018 Q&A: Pushing Back on OSHA Inspections

Sept. 24, 2018
Do you know your rights as an employer?

Between walkarounds, interviews and document requests, OSHA inspections can be daunting and drawn out.

Knowing your rights as an employer can help you push back during the process and protect your business, says Travis Vance, Fisher Phillips attorney and speaker at the 2018 Safety Leadership Conference from Nov. 6-8 in Louisville.

Vance and Collin Warren, APM chief compliance director and general counsel, will guide attendees through what is expected and what can be done to make sure the inspection process runs smoothly.

Learn more about the session titled, “We’re Not Gonna’ Take It: Pushing Back on OSHA Inspections," in the Compliance Track, through EHS Today's Q&A with Vance.

EHS Today: Can you offer us a description of your presentation and how it relates to safety leadership?

Vance: This will be an interactive discussion of OSHA inspections, the government’s tactics during inspections, including walkarounds, witness interviews, and document requests,  and employers’ rights following the seminal Mar-Jac Poultry case. If safety leaders have an understanding of what their company’s rights are during an OSHA inspections, they will be more effective in defending OSHA citations and protecting workers.

EHS Today: Why is the topic of your presentation of interest to you and why is it important to SLC attendees?

Vance: It’s important to me because it’s what I do every day. I’ve handled OSHA inspections all over the country and each one is unique and presents a new challenge. I find that many safety leaders don’t fully understand their rights during OSHA inspections and this presentation will help them protect their brand and preserve business opportunities.

EHS Today: Please share an example of a personal or professional experience you’ve had related to safety leadership or the topic of your presentation.

Vance: I’ve handled OSHA inspections that involved 6 inspectors and where OSHA was on-site for 26 days. I use the content of this presentation to assist employers in protecting their workers and to learn how to raise their rights, professionally, during an OSHA inspection.

EHS Today: What are the takeaways you hope to leave with attendees?

Vance: After the presentation, the attendees will:

  • Know how to respond to an accident to prepare for an OSHA inspection and third-party claim;
  • Have a plan in place to prepare for an OSHA inspection;
  • Know their rights if and when OSHA arrives;
  • Understand the ramifications of issues, including matters relating to employee testimony, arising during an OSHA inspection;
  • Be able to put procedures in place to enhance employee safety;
  • Understand how to comply with OSHA’s new anti-retaliation rules; and
  • Have a greater understanding of the interplay of OSHA with other types of laws and litigation.

EHS Today: What do you think are some of the most pressing EHS and risk management issues facing corporate leaders and safety professionals in 2018 and beyond?

Vance: Being prepared for not only OSHA inspections, but third-party/vendor/customer audits which often go beyond safety issues. These audits will not only require employers to keep their workers safe, but could be an obstacle to preserving a company’s business opportunities.

EHS Today: How will this session help attendees be a better resource for their employees and company?

Vance: As noted, many safety leaders don’t fully know their rights during an OSHA inspection. This presentation will not only prevent or minimize OSHA citations and penalties, but preserve business opportunities for the company.

(EHS Today's 2018 Safety Leadership Conference and America’s Safest Companies Awards Program will take place Nov. 6-8 in Louisville, KY at the Hyatt Regency Louisville. This event is designed to share best leadership, risk management, compliance and safety practices with EHS professionals hoping to achieve world-class safety at their companies. The conference features 24 sessions across four performance tracks; Safety & Risk Management, Compliance, Construction and Safety Technology.)

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