Search form

Complex OSHA Inspections to Get More Attention under New ‘Enforcement Weighting System’

  • October 13, 2015

The number of process safety management compliance inspections at oil refineries and chemical plants, as well as inspections involving workplace violence and ergonomics, are likely to increase under a new inspection strategy launched October 1 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“All inspections aren’t equal ‒ some are complex and require more time and resources ‒ and many of those inspections have the greatest impact,” OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels said during a September forum at the National Safety Council conference. “This new system will help us better focus our resources on more meaningful inspections.”

Instead of merely counting individual inspections, under OSHA’s new “Enforcement Weighting System,” each inspection will be assigned “Enforcement Units.” Routine inspections, such as construction site inspections that take only a few hours, will count as one unit, while inspections that take longer and are more complex could receive up to nine units. The agency said the values are based on historical data and will be monitored and adjusted as necessary.

The change will encourage enforcement personnel to take on complicated inspections without worrying about whether they are meeting goals for individual inspections, Michaels said, as reported by Bloomberg BNA. “I think you’ll see more complex inspections and more impactful inspections, because we haven’t spent as much time and resources on those areas,” the Assistant Secretary said at the conference.

Telephone inquiries made by area office staff when responding to severe injury reports sent to OSHA also will count as enforcement units, Michaels added, according to Bloomberg BNA. Beginning January 1, 2015, OSHA mandated that it must be notified of any amputation, eye loss or worker hospitalization. Currently, phone inquiries prompted by those notifications are not calculated into inspection counts.

The change comes after two years of analysis. A workgroup selected from national and field staff calculated how long it took to conduct different types of inspections and assigned them a comparable number of enforcement units.

Bloomberg BNA reported that, since 2011, Michaels has discussed the need to conduct more health and complicated inspections. In appropriations requests for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, he told Congress the agency was considering making the change. Michaels was unable to say what OSHA’s goal will be for enforcement units for the new fiscal year, which began October 1, the news agency reported, because OSHA’s budget for fiscal 2016 has not yet been set by Congress. OSHA conducted 36,163 inspections in fiscal year 2014 (the year of the last federal government shutdown) and 39,271 inspections in fiscal year 2013.

©2015 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at www.jacksonlewis.com.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

September 26, 2019

An Aging Construction Workforce: Recognition and Response

September 26, 2019

The number of workers aged 55 and over is increasing, while the number of workers under the age of 25 is decreasing, according to the 2018 Current Population Survey. The construction industry may feel this more acutely than other industries, as workers in the construction industry tend to be older than those in other industries, the... Read More

August 21, 2019

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Agency Proposes Changes to Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers

August 21, 2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on changes to the hours of service (HOS) rules. Background First adopted in 1937, FMCSA’s HOS rules set the permitted operating hours of commercial drivers. FMCSA mandated use of... Read More

June 25, 2019

The Aging Construction Industry: Keeping Skilled Employees Longer

June 25, 2019

Workers in the construction industry tend to be older than those in other industries, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The median age of construction workers is 42 years old, a year older than the median in the national labor force. Further, the median age of workers in the industry is 44-45 years old in several U.... Read More

Related Practices