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What are the five priorities for OHSA inspections?

Minnesota employees should always know that the law works to ensure they have safe environments in which to conduct their jobs. Part of the way that the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration helps to keep employees safe while on the job is by conducting onsite investigations. When planning these investigations, OHSA prioritizes them by grouping them into five categories.

According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, any situation in which employees are believed to be subject to immediate risk will be prioritized for investigation above any other. OHSA can become aware of such risk during another type of investigation or through a report from a third party. The second highest priority for investigation will always be any accident that resulted in a minimum of three inpatient hospitalizations or at least one fatality. All such incidents are required to be reported to OSHA within a maximum of eight hours.

Any situation reported by an employee that is not related to an immediate danger will be prioritized next in the investigation queue. Employees should always know that these types of reports will be kept confidential so they should feel free to provide information without fear of retaliation. In addition to investigating these unique situations, OSHA also conducts routine inspections of workplaces. For any initial investigation, the agency will also conduct subsequent inspections to follow up on any original requests or requirements that employers were to abide by.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is intended to give Minnesota employees an overview of how OSHA determines investigation priorities.

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