OSHA Audit – What to Expect?

No business ever knows when Oregon OSHA is coming to do an inspection.  That’s because it’s against the law to give prior notice.  Even though employers don’t know that the inspection is coming, there are a few things they can do to make the inspection process go smoother.


All Oregon OSHA compliance officers carry ID and will present it, along with a business card, when they begin an inspection.  The compliance officer will collect basic information about the company, which may include how many workers are at the location and details about the type of work done.  Next, the compliance officer will conduct a walk-through of the facility and look for hazards that could cause an injury or accident.


In cases of extreme danger, a work site or piece of equipment can be “red tagged”, which prohibits the employer from continuing to work with the equipment or at the location.  But most commonly, a compliance offer will ask an employer to correct a hazard on the spot or set an abatement date.  Serious violations carry a penalty of $300 and correcting the violation before the end of the visit can reduce the penalty by 30%.


Employee interviews are also part of the inspection process.  Oregon OSHA will talk privately with employees in various positions to get a better understanding of the organization’s health and safety program and what their day-to-day work entails.  At the close of the inspection, the compliance officer may review company records and make recommendations, or offer insights into the company’s safety program.  Follow-up inspections are done on approximately 10% of the inspections competed each year.

Common record keeping items requested during an inspection:

  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
  • Forklift training certification program
  • Crane inspection records
  • Safety committee minutes
  • PPE hazard assessment
  • Confined space entry permits
  • OSHA 300 log


Oregon OSHA Top 10 most-cited rules:

  1. Safety committees and safety meetings 437-001-0765
  2. Hazard communication – 1910.1200
  3. Wiring methods, components and equipment for general use – 1910.305
  4. Portable fire extinguishers – 437-002-0187
  5. General fall protection – 437-003-501
  6. Respiratory protection – 1910.134
  7. PPE – general requirements – 1910.132
  8. Electrical – general requirements – 1910.303
  9. Abrasive wheel machinery – 1910.215
  10. Rules for all workplaces – 437-001-0760
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