The Occupational Safety & Health Reporter™ provides complete news coverage and documentation of federal and state occupational safety and health programs, standards, legislation, regulations,...
June 22 — Stores and their related warehouses are more likely to be inspected in some states that have their own workplace safety agencies than are retailers in states covered by federal OSHA, a report looking at nearly six months worth of inspections found.
The study by the law firm Haynes and Boone LLP covered the first half of fiscal year 2015.
Accounting for 41 percent of the 1,591 inspections studied were four state plans—California (174), North Carolina (93), Oregon (124) and Washington (79)—and Puerto Rico's safety agency (183).
Haynes and Boone attorney Matthew Deffebach, whose practice includes retail industry clients, said state plans' propensity to inspect retailers, compared with federal OSHA, reflects different enforcement priorities.
None of the states had specific programs targeting retailers, however some inspections might have been connected to emphasis programs covering a particular hazard in a store such as amputation risks.
The enforcement analysis also found that inspectors were less likely to issue citations to retail companies when compared with the national average for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Only 54 percent of inspections by state and federal inspectors resulted in citations being issued, the report said.
The federal OSHA average is about 70 percent, while for state plans the average is about 59 percent, federal OSHA data showed.
Even when citations were based on complaints, often from current or former employees, citations were issued in only 57 percent of those inspections, the study found.
Deffebach said he was surprised by the low percentage of inspections that produce citations.
“Maybe it's because I represent clients who have been cited, but if you're inspected, you believe OSHA will find something,” Deffebach said.
The report doesn't offer an explanation for the low citation rate. Deffebach speculated that if inspectors go to a store and don't see obvious violations, they may decide to leave in order to inspect another workplace.
When violations were found, 51 percent were serious and 44 percent were other-than-serious. Repeat and willful violations accounted for 5 percent. Deffebach said the comparatively high number of other-than-serious violations show inspectors were often citing minor problems.
In comparison, OSHA enforcement information for all federal inspections showed that in 2015, about 18 percent of cited hazards were other-than-serious violations and 77 percent were serious violations.
The most common cited standards covered powered industrial trucks (29 C.F.R. 1910.178) and hazard communication (29 C.F.R. 1910.1200), each with about 220 violations, the report found.
Electrical standards were the third and fourth most-cited standards—general electrical requirements (29 C.F.R. 1910.303) and electrical wiring methods (29 C.F.R. 1910.305).
Exit routes (29 C.F.R. 1910.37) and portable fire extinguishers (29 C.F.R. 1910.157) were the next most common rule violations.
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 Haynes and Boone report is available at http://src.bna.com/f9F.
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)