Perhaps you’ve heard advice about what to do during and after an OSHA inspection, such as follow the inspector and challenge things you think the OSHA rep is getting incorrect. Here’s a good reason to take that advice seriously.
A former OSHA inspector has told a TV station in Houston that he had to “game the numbers” when the agency came under Congressional pressure for not conducting enough inspections.
Ronnie Benavides, who worked for OSHA for more than a decade, told KHOU-TV that he felt pressured to be more aggressive, to do more inspections and write more citations, even if they had to be fabricated.
Benavides detailed one inspection in particular. A construction worker fell 29 floors to his death.
He said he and other OSHA inspectors who went to the site to investigate went overboard. He said they cited contractors for things that weren’t violations.
OSHA in the Houston area may have been under particular pressure to boost inspections.
In 2005, an explosion at the nearby Texas City BP refinery killed 15 workers.
Critics said OSHA wasn’t aggressive enough in enforcing safety at the plant.
OSHA denied any allegation that citations were manufactured.
The agency said more inspections were conducted in the Houston area in response to a building boom there.
The United Steelworkers Union told KHOU that it welcomed OSHA getting more aggressive, saying it’s long overdue.