It's A Bird, It's A Plane.......It's OSHA

June 3, 2019

On May 18, 2018 OSHA issued an internal memorandum to its regional administrators directing the procedures for the use of "drones" during health and safety inspections. They have reportedly been used so far on nearly a dozen worksite inspections. In order to protect yourself from unauthorized searches in violation of the Fourth Amendment, it is important to know the do's and don'ts  for OSHA when attempting to conduct surveillance of your worksite.

Normally, even without a warrant, you can limit the scope of an OSHA inspection depending upon the type:  a hazard complaint based inspection typically only allows OSHA to look at the equipment or area of issue.  However, even during a limited scope inspection, if OSHA observes a violation in "plain view," that justifies them expanding the scope of the inspection.So if a drone is used, it makes a larger portion of your worksite available to them.

OSHA also cooperates with the EPA, so if the drone captures something in the environmental area that is improper, they can share the video and trigger an EPA visit.

It is wise to educate your supervisors and workers now, so that if an OSHA team shows up, everyone will know their rights.

Source:  Pallet Central Magazine and our friends at the National Wood Pallet and Container Association. The author, Adele L. Abrams is an attorney and safety professional who represents companies in litigation with OSHA.  She can be reached at 301/595-3520 or www.safety-law.com.

Since 1929 the WPMA has focused on providing our members with timely information to help them remain competitive in the global economy.

For more information you may contact Philip Bibeau, Executive Director at 978/874-5445.

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