How to Survive a DOSH Inspection 

The monthly Approach Brain Trust took a look at DOSH inspections and what your company needs in order to pass without citations and the financial penalties they bring.

How are companies picked for workplace safety inspections?  

All across Washington, around 50 businesses are inspected each day. That’s more than 12,000 per year. As Amy Davidson, safety director at Approach, explained, there are a few different reasons why your company might be selected for an inspection.

One big reason is unsafe work practices. As inspectors drive around the state, they are looking for situations that could cause a workplace injury or death.

As you’ve probably guessed, the work practices depicted in this photo would result in an immediate workplace inspection.


Top 5 reasons L&I showed up at your job site

Read this Ask Approach blog post for more reasons why DOSH, a department of Labor & Industries, might select your company for a workplace safety inspection.

What to do when a workplace inspection begins

If an inspector does arrive at your job site, do you know what to do? Just as importantly, do your employees and co-workers know what to do?

Davidson reminded participants in the webinar that there are two key points to think about when planning your inspection response:

  • Who will the inspector see first?
  • Who will be involved during the inspection?

Be prepared and think about how to answer these questions for your company. Next, be sure your employees are trained on what to do in the event of an inspection, especially those who may greet or accompany the inspector.


What happens during a workplace safety inspection?

Watch the video and read our guide to workplace safety inspections.

The workplace safety plan (APP)

The first thing the inspector will ask for is your Accident Prevention Plan, or APP, also known as your workplace safety plan. In fact, Davidson advises offering this document to the inspector upon arrival, so they can take time to review it right away.

Not having the plan, or having a plan that doesn’t cover the work being done by your company, can earn your company a citation at the very start of the inspection. Don’t let this happen!


What belongs in your safety plan?

Read our blog post on the key elements of APPs in Washington state.

The safety walk-around

During the inspection, the inspector will actually walk around the job site and talk to employees. Questions can include:

  • How were you trained to do your job safely?
  • Does your company hold safety meetings?
  • How do you report a workplace hazard?

Again, any employee may be interviewed, so it’s important that everyone is trained on this possibility. Be sure that all safety training and safety meetings are documented in case of questions about when training was provided and who attended.


Top 6 workplace safety checks

Our recent blog post covered some items each employer should check for compliance.

Citation and notice

At the end of the inspection, your company will be issued with a citation and notice for any violations that were found.

Davidson highlighted another common reason employers are cited, which is not having proper filing and posting of OSHA 300 logs.

As with any L&I decision, your company has 15 days to protest or appeal any citations received during the inspection.


Safety citations and appeals in Washington state

Find out how your company can save thousands by appealing improper workplace safety citations.


If your company is concerned about workplace safety inspections, why not schedule a Mock L&I inspection with the Approach Safety Team? If you’re an Approach client, this can be held as your annual safety visit. Contact the safety team for more information or to schedule your visit.