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When Should the OSHA Investigation Begin?

When Should the OSHA Investigation Begin?

When does OSHA begin their investigation?

All employers are required by law to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related injury requiring hospitalization, amputation, or the loss of an eye. Fatalities must be reported within eight hours, and an injury requiring hospitalization must be reported within 24 hours.

OSHA’s Investigative Process

It’s important to note that not all workplace injuries result in an OSHA investigation. Instead, OSHA prioritizes its responses to reported incidents. Many times they will carry out an on-site inspection, but in some cases, they simply accept the employer’s own accident investigation report.

It is vital for OSHA to begin their investigation as soon as possible, before the area of the incident is disturbed. According to OSHA’s interim enforcement procedures, the inspection “will be initiated as soon as resources permit and will normally be initiated within five working days” of the reported incident. Sometimes, circumstances may cause the OSHA investigation to take longer than a person might think. This might occur because of the need to conduct a more extensive investigation, or because the employer failed to provide all the information necessary in a timely manner, but do NOT wait for the investigation to be completed before speaking with an attorney about your case.

An OSHA investigation is intended to identify and correct any underlying causes, rather than discover and place blame on any particular person or event. It’s the job of your attorney to identify who is liable for the accident and hold them legally responsible for paying your related expenses. Your attorney may also perform an independent investigation to ensure everything pertinent to your case is discovered and nothing is lost.

An OSHA investigation will look at things such as:

  • How employees are being trained
  • Condition of Equipment
  • Tools used to perform the job
  • Details about the machine that was in operation at the time of the incident if appropriate (manufacturer and model number)
  • Status of environmental conditions such as temperature of the air, noise level, and lighting as these factors may have been contributory factors
  • Visibility factors such as steam, haze from chemicals, or fog that may have led to the incident
  • Safety procedures in place at the work site
  • Physical obstacles such as blocked exits, potential tripping hazards, etc.
  • Whether safety guards were in place at the time of the incident

Should I Wait for OSHA?

No, you need to begin building your case as soon as possible. While OSHA investigations can sometimes help explain exactly what happened, they are not necessarily done for the benefit of the victim or their family. In order to have the best chance at recovering compensation, we strongly suggest hiring an attorney as early on as possible. To speak with us about your case, call us for a free consultation today at 1-800-ATTORNEY.


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