The Situation: An OSHA inspector arrives at your worksite requesting to talk with you about an inspection based on the health and safety complaints of a worker. You are in your office and the OSHA inspector is at the reception office. You know this worker to be a highly disgruntled individual who is constantly questioning all aspects of his job and the work environment. The area he works in is currently undergoing a major renovation for a process change for the product in the line, but it is still trying to produce the older version of the product at a lower volume than before. Your area supervisor is a competent individual, but he or she is working under a lot of stress with the changeover; therefore, you are only 80% sure that the claims listed in the complaint are groundless and without merit. The worker is also heavily involved in an effort to unionize the plant employees. In addition, your plant manager is in another state at corporate headquarters for some important meetings.
The Questions: How would you act, what actions should you take, and what would you do? Should you challenge the validity of the OSHA inspector’s request or their right to enter the workplace? Or should you request a warrant to enter the workplace and thereby gain some time to make sure everything is in order back in the plant? Can you gain any time to check with your in-area safety supervisor first? Or should you immediately comply with the request for the inspection? Explain your answers.