Was the OSHA inspector within his authority in giving us a citation right on the premises the first time he saw the violation?
Possibly. The Labor Department announced on May 17 that under some circumstances OSHA inspectors would issue on-the-spot citations. The purpose of the expedited procedure is to afford protection to employees in the shortest possible time. The citations are to be made in accordance with instructions that are clear and specific enough, the Department says, to preclude abuse of authority by the inspector. No citation is to be issued until the inspector has conferred with his area director and in no case can the inspector himself propose on-the-spot penalties. These will be proposed later by the area director. On-the-spot citations cannot be issued at all under certain circumstances, as for example if a laboratory analysis is needed to determine whether there has been a violation or if the advice of legal staff or technical experts is needed.