If you run a business, you already have valuable experience and training to draw upon. But does your background include managing health and safety investigations? If your answer is no, it is important that you have a handle on these basics, or your business could pay a price.
Health and safety investigations usually occur in response to an accident or complaint. They may also be pre-scheduled as a routine check or follow-up. Either way, when the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries’ Division of Safety and Health (DOSH) arrives to conduct an inspection, you want to be well-prepared.
How you respond to the investigation can greatly affect its outcome. You cannot ignore DOSH. And, although you have the right to demand DOSH obtain a warrant, it will only briefly delay the inevitable inspection. It is far better to work with the DOSH inspection team initially. Just be sure you have a plan, and consider including legal counsel. Investigations can result in citation, fines and, in some cases, jail time. This overview can help you get started with a competent plan.
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