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OSHA and Workplace Accident Investigations: What Every HR Professional Needs to Know


Learn how to effectively and properly conduct a workplace investigation while keeping the company protected.

A workplace is changed in an instant when an accident occurs, especially accidents involving fatalities or catastrophic injuries. A typical day quickly transforms into one that can devastate other employees, cause chaos in your operations, and throw the company immediately into a legal morass. Preparedness is critical in addressing workplace accidents efficiently and effectively. Accidents and all other circumstances that prompt OSHA investigations must be planned for ahead of time. This planning ensures that the company and its key actors likely to be involved in an accident response will know what to do immediately in dealing with the unexpected. OSHA investigations following accidents can give rise to very serious legal consequences. Civil penalties can be extremely costly. Accidents can give rise to civil liability, citations, claims, or charges by OSHA, the injured employee(s) and/or victim(s), other employees, or third parties. Even criminal prosecutions are a possibility in extreme circumstances.
No OSHA investigation is routine, and it is impossible to write a script for how every investigation will unfold. However, there are key considerations and common themes that this topic will cover to ensure that you and your company are as prepared as possible for an OSHA investigation. This presentation provides a review of the information and procedures that can help a company through an OSHA investigation. Many of these concepts are transferable to responses to other types of incidents or any inquiry into how well the company has met the requirements of law. This topic is a starting point for those who are new to managing OSHA compliance, and a refresher for those who have experience with OSHA enforcement activities.



Jaslyn W. Johnson

Jaslyn W. Johnson

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

  • Associate at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C., Atlanta, GA
  • Represents and advises employers on workplace safety and health matters; her practice includes providing guidance on federal OSHA state OSHA compliance, challenging citations, and litigating OSHA-related matters before federal and state agencies and courts
  • Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, she served as a trial attorney in the Office of the Solicitor for the United States Department of Labor where she litigated cases on behalf of U.S. Department of Labor agencies, including OSHA and MSHA, in federal district courts and federal administrative courts, including the Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission and Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
  • Previous experience includes providing pre-litigation legal, strategic and investigative assistance to both OSHA and MSHA
  • Can be contacted at

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