The use of safety inspections under the Occupational Safety and Health Act was discussed. The transfer of the inspection process from the employer to the regulator was considered. The conduct of inspections and the rights of the worker and the employer have been specifically defined. Employee rights regarding OSHA inspections were listed. The inspection procedure has withstood the tests of time in the safety field, and has been widely regarded as an effective safety management tool. Some ways in which this tool has served as a regulatory instrument were reviewed. Critical areas of inspection effectiveness include the decision to inspect or not to inspect, targeting of inspections, civil penalties, and professionalism in the inspection process. There are ways to vastly improve the inspection process. The current dialogue should focus on extensions and improvements of inspections rather than relieving regulatees of the inspection experience.
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