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Do you know what powers a DoL inspector has when he pays your company a visit?

by , 23 July 2014
It's every employer's worst nightmare: A visit from a DoL inspector! What if he finds that you haven't complied with one of the 1, 500 odd OHS regulations out there? You know this means you've broken the law and that could mean serious punishments.

But before you have visions of the DoL inspector closing down your company forever, first find out what authority he has.

In fact, a DoL inspector has nine general powers. Here's what they are...

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If you operate any machinery in your workplace, GMR Schedule D or C must be in clear view for employees to see. This will be the first thing the inspector will look out for when he's paying an unscheduled visit to your workplace.  If you are missing these summaries, he will slap you with a fine. Don't get caught without them. 

Here are the nine general powers a DoL inspector has

To enforce compliance, a DoL inspector can:
1. Enter any workplace where the employees work, at a reasonable time, without previous notice to do a health and safety inspection;
2. Question anyone in the workplace on matters relating to the OHS Act;
3. Instruct anyone to show him your health and safety records so he can make copies of them;
4. Ask questions about any entries or missing entries in these books and documents;
5. Inspect any article, substance, plant or machinery;
6. Inspect any work your employees do;
7. Seize any documents, articles, substances or machinery that can be used as evidence if you go to court for breaking laws under the OHS Act;
8. Tell any employer, employee or user to speak to him; and
9. Perform any other given job. 
Now you know what's a DoL inspector can and can't do when he visit your sites. This will help you protect your rights as an employer. It also gives you insight into what an inspector will do if he comes to your site and how you must prepare for this.
So there you have it: Don't let a DoL inspect bully you or your employees during an inspection. He's only allowed to do so much and if he crosses any lines you must report him to the DoL.
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