Whether an operation is large or small, it’s not that unusual for an OSHA inspector to show up for a surprise inspection.

When that happens, everyone in the building should feel involved in the process. Management has to have the required paperwork in order, but that’s just the beginning.

How each person treats the inspector can make a difference in his appraisal of our operation. Treat the inspector like the VIP that he is. Smile and be cooperative. That can go a long way toward his view of the business. Never be rude or defensive.

The inspector could pick you at random to ask questions about your training and its effectiveness. For example, you might be asked to locate the solution you use in your portable eyewash station.

If you are selected, be sure you understand each question. Think a minute before replying. Answer briefly and give only the information that was asked for without rambling on. Don’t answer questions that have not been asked.

Generally, the inspector will want to inspect only one or two parts of the operation, but the inspection is not limited in scope. The inspector can and will inspect whatever OSHA wants to inspect.

Make the inspector’s visit as pleasant as you can. Be polite and respectful. He is not an intruder but someone doing the job he was hired to do.