The Occupational Safety & Health Reporter™ provides complete news coverage and documentation of federal and state occupational safety and health programs, standards, legislation, regulations,...
June 23 — A now-defunct OSHA enforcement program targeting employers because of their high injury and illness rates didn't have much effect in improving workplace safety, according to a report released June 23 by the Department of Labor.
The report focuses on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Site-Specific Targeting Program.
Under the program, which ended in 2015, OSHA annually sent letters to thousands of employers with injury and illness rates exceeding their industry's average, warning them they could be inspected and advising them to contact safety consultants to improve practices.
In the evaluation process, the study applied both a “randomized controlled trial” (RCT) design and a “regression discontinuity design” (RDD) to assess the impacts of the program, the report said.
“Neither of the studies detected any statistically significant impacts of the enforcement actions (high-rate letters and inspections) on health and safety outcomes,” the report said.
OSHA didn't respond June 23 to requests by Bloomberg BNA for comment.
The DOL-sponsored research goal was to determine whether employer rates for the number of days that injured or ill workers had spent away from their normal jobs—the “days away, restrictions and transfers” (DART) rate—decreased after receiving an OSHA letter or a receiving a letter and undergoing an inspection.
In cases where a worksite was inspected twice, the DOL examined whether the likelihood of finding violations on the second visit decreased.
The report concluded that if there was a DART rate improvement, on average there was no more than a 5 percent decrease. In some samples, employer injury-illness rates increased, the report said.
After researchers looked at violation numbers, they concluded that receiving a letter and undergoing an inspection didn't make a large difference in the likelihood of inspectors finding violations on a second inspection.
In one sampling group, the likelihood of issuing violations declined from 77 percent for employers who hadn't received a letter or inspection to 70 percent for employers who had received a letter and an inspection.
That positive outcome was countered by results showing second inspection violation rates were higher for some employers.
OSHA ended the Site-Specific Targeting Program in 2015 after deciding to eliminate the OSHA Data Initiative (ODI), an annual survey of about 80,000 employers in high-hazard industries. The survey results were used to decide which employers would be inspected under the targeting program.
In 2017, OSHA will replace the ODI with a new requirement that about 440,000 employers annually submit injury and illness log information to the agency. That information can be used to guide inspection decisions.
The study was conducted by the research company Summit Consulting based in Washington, D.C.
The Summit authors said the inconclusive results could have been impacted by unforeseen problems such as private safety consultant companies contacting the targeted employers after OSHA published a list of companies scheduled to receive warning letters, unanticipated difficulties tracking employers for multiple years and OSHA's prohibition on conducting programmed inspections at the same business two years in a row.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at email@example.com .
The Labor Department report is available at http://src.bna.com/gdn.
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)