Can OSHA subpoena records after they issue a citation?

Know Your Rights

Knowing your rights when under the microscope of CalOSHA may be one of the smartest things you can do.  Over the years I have seen several abuses by government inspectors.   Asking female school principals for their personal phone number.  Trying to shut down wood shops to secure one little piece of wood that was already used 4 months ago.

There is nothing worse than when a government official abuses their power and you had no idea that they did.   So, here’s another tip to make sure when you are under the microscope you know


Just the other day one of our clients received a subpoena well after they a citation was issued.  Normally, the person would see the word subpoena and hand over everything.  But in this case, they were smart, they asked the questions – is that the way the subpoena process is supposed to work?

The answer lies in the CalOSHA’s Policy and Procedures Manual C-24, in A(3)(c) which states: “Subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum shall be issued during the investigatory phase of Division activities and shall not be issued after the issuance of citations and after initiation of Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board proceedings. ”  To read the full page, click

In this case, the organization was able to refuse the subpoena and bolster their defense, keep their gameplan quite and hopefully win their case, because dollars should go to abate problems not pay citations.


Hope you enjoyed this article.  If you need more personalized assistance, you can work directly with us.  Reach out here.

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