Q & A: OSHA Inspections – Employee Interviews

Q & A: OSHA Inspections – Employee Interviews

Question: “Is there a statue that allows OSHA inspectors to record interviews?”

Answer: Well, yes, there is a “directive” (CPL 02-00-098). However, employee interviews are voluntary and employees have the right to refuse; likewise, employees must grant their consent to be recorded on audio or video.

Guidelines for Case File Documentation for use with Videotapes and Audiotapes

“b. Interview statements may be videotaped or audiotaped, with the consent of the person being interviewed. The statement shall be reduced to writing in egregious, fatality/catastrophe, willful, repeated, failure to abate, and other significant cases so that it may be signed. CSHOs are encouraged to produce a written statement for correction and signature as soon as possible, identifying the transcriber. (See the FOM, Chapter III,D.8.d.(5).)”

Field Operations Manual

“Photographs and Videotapes.

1. Photographs and/or videotapes, shall be taken whenever CSHOs determine there is a need. a. Photographs that support violations shall be properly labeled, and may be attached to the appropriate Violation (OSHA-1B). b. CSHOs shall ensure that any photographs relating to confidential trade secret information are identified as such and are kept separate from other evidence.

2. All film and photographs or videotape shall be retained in the case file. If lack of storage space does not permit retaining the film, photographs or videotapes with the file, they may be stored elsewhere with a reference to the corresponding inspection. Videotapes shall be properly labeled. For more information regarding guidelines for case file documentation with video, audio and digital media, see OSHA Instruction CPL 02-00-098, Guidelines for Case File Documentation for Use with Videotapes and Audiotapes, October 12, 1993, [and any other directives related to photograph and videotape retention.]”

Conducting Employee Interviews.

a. General Protocols.

b. Interview Statements.

Additionally, “OSHA can issue a subpoena that compels a witness to submit to an audio or video recorded interview,” but that’s an extreme case.

An OSHA Occupational Safety & Health Officer can of course take notes if consent is granted for an interview.

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