By: Jeff Groce

In this installment we will be looking at the closing conference and your rights as an employer.  The closing conference is scheduled by the Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) once they have completed the inspection process.  Depending on the size and scope of the project, the closing could be scheduled for the next day or several days thereafter.

During the inspection, if the company has had a representative walking with the compliance officer, and has taken notes or pictures, then they should be gathered for the company’s benefit during the closing.  The contractor will want to show proof that they corrected items to show a good-faith effort.

At the closing conference, the compliance officer will start going through the alleged violations they have written.  If items were corrected during the compliance walkthrough, the CSHO will reference this. If the compliance officer does not know the hazards were abated onsite, they should be informed using the contractor’s notes and pictures.  It may be necessary to offer proof that they were abated by walking the site.   Citations discussed during the closing conference that have not been corrected on site will be given a deadline for abatement. 

The company can offer a time frame for abatement to the CSHO, and that date will be documented.  Once issues have been corrected, or if items are scheduled to be corrected at the current time, this needs to be communicated to the compliance officer.  The company benefits from this information notated in their report. Even though abated items may still carry a fine, it typically makes a good impression to the CSHO when issues are addressed and corrected immediately. 

The CSHO will share the alleged violations and documentation before they leave, and instruct the company that actual fines and citations will be applied before final paperwork is mailed out.  Once the company receives the final paperwork, the employer will be required to post those citations for at least three days or until the hazards are abated, whichever is first.  The compliance officer will also advise the company of their rights for an informal conference or a hearing.