OSHA Compliance

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) was created to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for employees. Employers must provide a workplace that's free from serious hazards and that follows all OSHA requirements, such as these high-profile safety and health standards:

OSHA compliance training is required for employees as part of several standards. View our training checklist to see what may be required for your business.

In addition, written safety plans are required for several industries. Browse our safety plan solutions as well as the additional compliance solutions below.

Topics — What You Need to Know

Which OSHA regulations are most commonly violated? Take a look at the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards in fiscal year 2018 (October 2017 through September 2018):

  1. Duty to have fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501) – view OSHA Fall Protection solutions  
  2. Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200) – view OSHA Hazard Communication solutions  
  3. Scaffolds, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451) – view OSHA Scaffolding solutions  
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134) – view OSHA Respiratory Protection solutions  
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147) – view OSHA Lockout/Tagout solutions  
  6. Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053) – view OSHA Ladder & Stairway solutions  
  7. Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178) – view OSHA Forklift Safety solutions  
  8. Fall Protection–Training, construction (29 CFR 1926.503) – view Fall Protection Training solutions  
  9. Machines, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.212) – view OSHA Machine Guarding solutions  
  10. Eye and face protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.102) – view Eye and Face Protection solutions  

With the buzz surrounding OSHA's stepped-up enforcement, employers often wonder what their chances are for an inspection. While almost any employer could be inspected on any given day, there are certain factors that increase the likelihood of an inspection, including:

  • Imminent danger — often triggered by a call from an employee or member of the public, a referral from another agency or a plain-view observation.
  • Fatality/catastrophe — triggered by incidents involving a death, hospitalization, amputation, or loss of eye.
  • Worker complaints and referrals — triggered by allegations of hazards or violations.
  • Targeted inspections — triggered by National Emphasis Programs, and Regional and Local Emphasis Programs.
  • Follow-up inspections — triggered by citations issued in the past. OSHA conducts follow-up inspections to ensure hazards have been abated at a specific facility and other locations of the same company where it believes similar hazards likely exist.

OSHA conducts approximately 40,000 inspections per year, resulting in adjusted penalties of approximately $35 million. See below for more facts and figures regarding OSHA inspection.

The following table shows how frequently different types of OSHA inspections generally occur. Employers should take note of programmed inspections, which OSHA conducts to target certain industries, hazards, or workplaces. In addition, employers should realize that reporting a serious injury to OSHA increases chances of either a phone investigation or onsite-inspection. While employers can’t prevent inspectors from showing up, they can be prepared by knowing the likelihood of an inspection.

Federal OSHA Inspections — By the Numbers
Reason for inspection Description Frequency
National, regional, local emphasis programs
  • Hazard-based (e.g., combustible dust)
  • Equipment-based (e.g., forklifts, presses)
  • Industry-based (e.g., logging, residential construction)
40-50% of all inspections.
Complaints
  • Most commonly from employee complaints
25% of all inspections
Referrals from other agencies
  • Referrals from local building inspectors, EPA inspectors, etc.
13% of all inspections
Follow-up from prior inspection
  • OSHA often conducts follow-up inspections of employers who have previously been cited
Varies
Plain-view
  • More common in the construction industry, where OSHA inspectors drive by a jobsite and notice a potentially unsafe situation
Severe injury reports
  • When employers report a fatality, hospitalization, amputation or loss of eye, or OSHA learns of these through media reports or other sources
1,800 per year

Safety & Compliance Solutions

Get the tools and information you need to comply with OSHA requirements, including manuals, training, PPE and much more – all backed by our in-house regulatory experts.

OSHA Compliance for General Industry Manual

Get easy-to-understand explanations of safety regulations. Includes Online Edition & 1-Year Update Service.

OSHA Rules for General Industry Guide

Puts workplace safety regulations in reader-friendly format. Includes Online Edition & 1-Year Update Service.

Workplace Safety Basics

Give your employees a strong foundation in safety and OSHA regulations.

Workplace Safety Regulatory Alert

Get up-to-date OSHA safety and compliance news every month.

OSHA Compliance Assessment

Our experienced consultants will help ensure your compliance with OSHA regulations.

KellerOnline® Tool

Our online safety management tool offers essential compliance tools and resources.

OSHA Compliance Program

Ongoing on-site guidance and resources for improving workplace compliance.

OSHA Signs

Facility signs identify specific hazards to help prevent accidents and injuries.