Rely on Occupational Safety & Health ReporterSM for full news coverage and documentation of federal and state workplace safety and health programs, standards, legislation,...
Sept. 30 — OSHA failed to determine whether its special emphasis programs actually improved long-term conditions for workers, a report released Sept. 30 by the Department of Labor’s inspector general concludes.
The inspector general’s review (No. 02-16-201-10-105) also faults the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for not targeting some industries with higher-than-average injury and illness rates while covering some industries with low rates.
OSHA’s program reviews typically reported statistics related to the “one-time correction of hazards,” the report says. The agency “did not demonstrate any long-term impact on safety and health conditions or hazard prevention in the targeted industry.”
For most emphasis programs, the report says, OSHA reviews focused on inspection statistics, such as the frequency of citations, to determine whether a program was effective. The OSHA reviews didn’t include follow-up visits to employers or look at industry-wide data.
As a result, OSHA lacked key information for determining whether its emphasis programs achieved their long-term goals, the report says.
OSHA officials told investigators reviews were primarily based on inspection statistics because the agency didn’t have the resources or data to conduct comprehensive evaluations.
The inspector general also criticized the selection of industries covered by emphasis programs.
Safety-related national emphasis programs generally targeted industries with above-average injury and illness rates as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the report says. However, the industries included 31 with lower-than-average rates. Not covered by the programs were eight industries with significantly higher rates such as mobile home manufacturing and air transportation.
OSHA administrator David Michaels responded to the inspector general’s finding in a Sept. 20 letter included with the final report. Michaels wrote that a “substantial body of evidence” shows targeted OSHA inspections result in lower rates at inspected employers.
Michaels said using national data from the BLS to evaluate emphasis programs isn’t practical because the statistics bureau data lags several years behind the start of programs and don’t adequately track serious health hazards.
The report isn’t the first time the inspector general has criticized OSHA inspection programs. In 2012, the inspector general faulted the agency’s site-specific targeting program for excluding worksites with fewer than 20 employees and exempting some high-hazard industries.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at BRolfsen@bna.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at email@example.com
The report is available at http://src.bna.com/i3O.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)