OSHRC Rules Inspectors with Expired Credentials can still Cite Violations

- The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has affirmed an administrative law judge’s decision not to vacate the citations issued to a company based on an inspection by a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector whose credential card had expired.

In July 2012, a Newburyport, Massachusetts-based general contracting business was issued a seven-item serious citation and a two-item repeat citation with a total proposed penalty of $32,800 for violations that included a lack of fall protection for workers while repairing a roof on a public school in Lowell, Massachusetts, according to the ruling.

After the inspector left the job site, a worker found his OSHA credential card, which had expired three weeks earlier.

The company argued that “because the (compliance officer)’s credential card was expired at the time of the inspection, he lacked the authority to enter the worksite, conduct the inspection, issue the citations and propose the penalties.”

An administrative law judge rejected this argument, finding that although the credential card was expired, the compliance officer’s “actual authorization to conduct inspections was never suspended, revoked, or expired,” the ruling states.

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