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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

    Subdivision 1. Authority to inspect. In order to carry out the purposes of this chapter, the
commissioner, upon presenting appropriate credentials to the owner, operator, or agent in charge,
is authorized to enter without delay and at reasonable times any place of employment; and to
inspect and investigate during regular working hours and at other reasonable times, and within
reasonable limits and in a reasonable manner, any such place of employment and all pertinent
conditions, structures, machines, apparatus, devices, equipment, and materials therein, and to
question privately any such employer, owner, operator, agent or employee.
    Subd. 1a. Proof of crane operator certification. An individual who is operating a crane on
a worksite shall provide proof of certification required under section 182.6525 upon request by
an investigator.
    Subd. 2. Powers of the commissioner. In making inspections and investigations under this
chapter the commissioner shall have the power to administer oaths, certify as to official acts, take
and cause to be taken depositions of witnesses, issue subpoenas, and compel the attendance of
witnesses and production of papers, books, documents, records and testimony. In case of failure
of any person to comply with any subpoena lawfully issued, or on the refusal of any witness
to produce evidence or to testify to any matter regarding which the person may be lawfully
interrogated, the district court shall, upon application of the commissioner, compel obedience
proceedings for contempt, as in the case of disobedience of the requirements of a subpoena
issued by the court or a refusal to testify therein.
    Subd. 3. Aiding of inspection. Subject to rules issued by the commissioner, a representative
of the employer and a representative authorized by employees shall be given an opportunity to
accompany the commissioner during the physical inspection of any workplace under subdivision
1 for the purpose of aiding such inspection. The authorized representative of employees shall also
be given the opportunity to participate in any conference or discussion held prior to or during any
such inspection. Where there is no authorized employee representative, the commissioner shall
consult with a reasonable number of employees concerning matters of health and safety in the
workplace. No employee as a consequence of aiding such inspection shall lose any privilege or
payment that the employee would otherwise earn, such loss being a discriminatory act subject to
the sanctions contained in section 182.669.
    Subd. 4. Request for inspection. Any employee or representative of employees who believes
that a violation of a safety or health standard exists that threatens physical harm, or that an
imminent danger exists, may request an inspection by giving notice to the commissioner of such
violation or danger. Any such notice shall be reduced to writing, shall set forth with reasonable
particularity the grounds for the notice, and shall be signed by the employee or representative of
employees. A copy of the notice shall be provided the employer or agent no later than the time
of the inspection, except that, upon the request of the person giving such notice, the employee's
name and the names of individual employees referred to therein shall not appear in such copy or
on any record published, released, or made available pursuant to section 182.663, subdivision
. If upon receipt of such notification the commissioner determines that there are reasonable
grounds to believe that such violation or danger exists, the commissioner shall make a special
inspection in accordance with the provisions of this section as soon as practicable, to determine if
such danger or violation exists. An inspection conducted pursuant to a complaint may cover all of
the premises of the employer and shall not be limited to that portion of the premises specified in
the notice. If the commissioner determines that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that
such a violation or danger exists the commissioner shall notify the employee or representative of
employees in writing of such determination. Upon such notification the employee or the employee
representative may request the commissioner to reconsider the determination. Upon receiving
such request the commissioner shall review the determination.
    Subd. 5. Reporting of violations. Prior to or during any inspection of a workplace,
any employee or representative of employees employed in such workplace may notify the
commissioner, in writing, of any violation of this chapter which they have reason to believe exists
in such workplace. The commissioner shall, by rule, establish procedures for informal review of
any refusal by a representative of the commissioner to issue a citation with respect to any such
alleged violation and shall furnish the employees or representative of employees requesting such
review a written statement of the reasons for the commissioner's final disposition of the case.
    Subd. 6. Court orders for entrance and inspection. Upon the refusal or anticipated refusal,
based on an employer's refusal to permit entrance on a prior occasion, of an owner, operator, or
agent in charge to permit entry as specified in this chapter, the commissioner may apply for an
order in the district court in the county in which a workplace is located, which compels the
employer to permit the commissioner to enter and inspect the workplace.
    Subd. 7. Advance notice of inspection. Advance notice may not be authorized by the
commissioner except:
(a) in cases of apparent imminent danger to enable the employer to abate the danger as
quickly as possible;
(b) in circumstances where the inspection can most effectively be conducted after regular
business hours or where special preparations are necessary for an inspection;
(c) where necessary to assure the presence of representatives of the employer and employees
or the appropriate personnel needed to aid in the inspection;
(d) in other circumstances where the commissioner determines that the giving of advance
notice would enhance the probability of an effective and thorough inspection; and
(e) the reason for advance notice and the results will be recorded and retained on an
appropriate form.
When advance notice is given to an employer, such notice shall also be given by the
commissioner to the authorized representative of employees if the identity of such representative
is known to the employer.
Violations of this subdivision are subject to the sanctions contained in section 182.667,
subdivision 3
    Subd. 8. Protection from subpoena; data. Neither the commissioner nor any employee of
the department, including those employees of the Department of Health providing services to
the Department of Labor and Industry, pursuant to section 182.67, subdivision 1, is subject to
subpoena for purposes of inquiry into any occupational safety and health inspection except in
enforcement proceedings brought under this chapter. Data that identify individuals who provide
data to the department as part of an investigation conducted under this chapter shall be private.
History: 1973 c 732 s 10; 1983 c 216 art 1 s 88; 1983 c 316 s 29; 1985 c 130 s 10; 1985 c
248 s 70; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 46 s 1,2; 2001 c 202 s 11; 2005 c 87 s 2

NOTE: Subdivision 1a, as added by Laws 2005, chapter 87, section 2, is effective July 1,
2007. Laws 2005, chapter 87, section 3.