Big Change in the Way OSHA Will Plan Inspections

October 8, 2015 By
Big news regarding OSHA inspections. In case you missed it, on September 29, Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, announced that the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) would change the way it plans for and measures inspections. The announcement was made at the National Safety Council (NSC) Congress & Expo, and was followed up by a blog post giving more details.

Here is what you need to know about OSHA inspections and the new changes:

  • In FY 2014, OSHA conducted 36,163 inspections, while 47,217 inspections were conducted by states that administer their own health and safety plans.
  • Some inspections required far more time and resources than others. For example, the inspection of an oil refinery or a chemical manufacturing facility is more complex and time-consuming than one of a trenching site.
  • OSHA will change the way it plans for and measures inspections by giving greater weight to those that require more time and resources.
  • A new measurement is being introduced to give added weight to the most demanding and complex inspections: the Enforcement Unit.
  • Under the new Enforcement Weighting System, routine inspections are valued as one Enforcement Unit, while more complex categories are valued at up to eight Enforcement Units.
  • Here are some examples of inspection values, based on historical data:
    • Process Safety Management (PSM) inspections = 7 units
    • Workplace violence inspections = 3 units
    • Inspections involving a chemical for which there is no permissible exposure limit = 3 units
  • The change will allow OSHA to better focus resources on more meaningful inspections – the ones that have the greatest impact. Therefore, the focus will be less on the number of inspections, and more on high-quality and complex inspections.

For more information, check out Dr. Michaels’ A Better Way to Plan for Safety and Health Inspections blog post.

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Categories: EHS

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