|2005 OSHSPA Report > Enforcement: targeting high-risk worksites|
|Enforcement: targeting high-risk worksites|
The primary mission of all state plans is to ensure every worker goes home healthy and whole. Enforcement plays a critical role in fulfilling this mission. Each state plan has legislative authority to monitor safety and health conditions in the workplaces covered by its program.
The state-plan states continually review targeting systems to make sure they are inspecting those establishments that have the most problems and avoid inspecting those establishments that are providing a safe and healthful work environment.
Each state-plan’s legislation proscribes how these monitoring or inspection visits will occur. Because this statutory authority prevents the programs from giving advance notice, compliance officers may not set up an appointment prior to the initial visit. The state plans are also required to issue citations and assess penalties for identified hazards.
Every day, more than 1,300 enforcement personnel in the state-plan states work diligently to help ensure workplaces are as safe and healthy as possible. It is the goal of these compliance officers to conduct inspections in a professional and efficient manner, with minimal disruption in the workplace.
Safety and health programs
Minnesota requires employers in industries with high injury and illness incidence and severity rates to develop a written workplace safety and health program. Under Minnesota’s A Workplace Accident and Injury Reduction (AWAIR) Act, employers of 25 or more employees are required to establish a joint labor-management safety committee.
Oregon OSHA’s (OR-OSHA’s) emphasis areas in fiscal-year 2005 were: falls, silica and lead in construction. OR-OSHA has agreed to target 5 percent of its annual inspections in each of these areas.
Washington requires every employer to develop a written plan (Accident Prevention Program, or APP) addressing the hazards of that business. The plan must include a safety and health committee of employer and employee representatives, and employee training about safe work practices. Washington has developed videos, workshops and online sample programs to help employers and their employees establish accident prevention programs on their own. Washington’s APP Web site includes sample programs for general industry, as well as industry-specific samples for construction, agriculture, firefighting, logging, masonry, restaurants and sawmills. It is online at www.lni.wa.gov/safety/basics/programs/accident/default.htm. In addition, the Web site has sample programs for chemical hazard communication, confined space, respiratory protection and hearing loss prevention. Employers can also request an on-site consultation for assistance with developing written programs.
Alaska continues to use workers’ compensation data to target worksites with high injury or illness rates. This data is typically current to within 60 days. As a result, the reliability of the targeting method is improved. Worksites with significant injuries and injury rates are placed on a high-hazard target (HHT) list used to make enforcement efforts efficient and effective.
AKOSH has two local-emphasis programs to include the public sector and worksites qualified as HHT sites. HHT sites are notified of their status as potential enforcement inspection targets and provided an opportunity to request a consultation visit. The sites that choose to have a comprehensive consultation visit and voluntarily correct identified hazards can be removed from the HHT list.
Arizona has developed an inspection targeting program that uses workers’ compensation data to identify individual employers with high rates of claims.
California OSHA (Cal/OSHA) continues to receive funding under workers’ compensation reform legislation for a targeted consultation program with a proactive focus. Consultation visits are offered to high-hazard employers as an alternative to targeted inspections. The targeted consultation program supplements the enforcement program and targets industries selected by enforcement. The Cal/OSHA consultation program has developed numerous publications, including model injury and illness prevention training programs dealing with such topics as workplace security, repetitive motion injuries (RMIs) and other topics.
During fiscal-year 2005, Kentucky maintained its increased compliance presence in the construction sector by conducting 972 inspections, which represents an increase of 11.2 percent in inspection activity and has increased follow-up inspections for both general industry and construction where serious violations were issued. Not only has compliance increased the number of inspections in construction, but has also dramatically increased the number of responses to reports of imminent danger, especially related to fall and trenching hazards. In fiscal-year 2005, compliance inspections resulting from reported imminent danger conditions increased to 209. This represents a 302.9 percent increase in the number of imminent danger referrals reported to by the Division of Compliance since fiscal-year 2002. Kentucky was able to maintain this level of activity in construction by increased efficiency and productivity, and with fewer field staff members.
Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) continued to maintain an increased compliance presence in the construction sector by conducting 756 construction inspections. The MOSH Training and Education Department provided training for employers and employees in the construction sector with 584 employers/companies being trained.
Michigan pioneered a general industry safety inspection scheduling program that relies on survey data, site-specific injury data and workers’ compensation data to target workplaces with high hazard conditions. Michigan OSHA (MIOSHA) has recently piloted a focused inspection concept as an alternative to wall-to-wall inspections. With this approach, significant industry hazards are the focus of inspections. This approach was determined to be an effective use of agency resources and will be expanded.
MIOSHA initiated an increased focus on health issues at construction sites by piloting joint safety and health inspections. Construction safety and health officers are cross-trained to recognize significant hazards outside their areas of expertise. This program continues to be very successful, with 167 combined inspections in fiscal-year 2005.
MIOSHA has received Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding since 1997 for the Adult blood lead epidemiology and surveillance (ABLES) program. Because of the referrals from ABLES to enforcement and other related MIOSHA initiatives, there have been great reductions in the rate of elevated blood leads in Michigan adults.
Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) inspection activities concentrate on workplaces with high injury and illness rates. To determine which industries to target in general industry scheduling, MNOSHA uses the federal OSHA Data Initiative, workers’ compensation information and high-hazard NAICS codes that are based on data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
Health inspections are prioritized based on NIOSH-identified industries with a high potential of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, BLS-identified industries with high nonfatal occupational illness rates and local emphasis programs targeting potential isocyanate exposure and potential occupational asthma.
MNOSHA’s current strategic goal is to conduct 60 percent of all programmed (routine) inspections in the following areas:
The Nevada Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) most current annual data about injury and illness rates and the agency’s own special emphasis programs guide Nevada OSHA’s site-specific targeting system. Both processes form the foundation for ranking and selecting workplaces for inspections. And it helps NV OSHA focus its resources and priorities on the protection of employees who can potentially be exposed to the most hazardous work environments.
New Jersey Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH) is working to reduce the number of worker injuries and illnesses by focusing statewide attention and resources on the most prevalent types of injuries and illnesses in the most hazardous public occupations and workplaces in state, county and local agencies in specific targeted NAICS codes.
New Jersey PEOSH enforcement maintains a strong presence as an effective deterrent for employers that fail to meet their safety and health responsibilities.
During federal fiscal-year 2005, the NJDLWD safety enforcement conducted a total of 1,168 inspections of which 682 were programmed, 42 were complaints, six were fatalities and 486 were follow-up inspections.
NJ PEOSH enforcement targeted:
North Carolina has established a site-specific targeting schedule based on data secured through the OSHA Data Initiative. A survey is completed based on establishment-specific employer DART data. The state has also initiated a public-sector survey. The data from this survey is used to determine high injury and illness incidence rates at public-sector establishments that may receive consultation, a comprehensive compliance inspection and/or education and training assistance. Targeting schedules have also been established for special-emphasis programs, including lumber and wood products; furniture and fixture industries; construction; and where employees may be exposed to health hazards such as lead, crystalline silica, styrene, asbestos and isocyanates.
Targeting based on 2003 claims data added trucking and warehousing, lumber and wood products, and health services sectors (SIC codes 42, 24, 80) to Oregon OSHA’s (OR-OSHA’s) local emphasis program. A program directive requires the list to be revisited each fiscal year and that the list not include the same sector two years in succession.
One of the areas targeted by Puerto Rico OSHA (PR OSHA) has been the woodworking industry. The office has continued to use the local emphasis program (LEP) directive to target the manufacture of wood products and furniture (CPL 2-0.0201 Woodworking Industries).
Another sector significantly impacted by the program was the auto repair and body shop industry, for which an LEP has been issued since 2002, targeting automotive painting and refinishing activities.
Also worth mentioning is the establishment in June 2005 of the PR OSHA Instruction CPL 2-0.0501, Local Emphasis Program – Fall and Electrical Hazards in Construction. This instruction described the policies and procedures for the implementation of a local emphasis program for the programmed safety inspections for fall and electrical hazards on construction worksites.
Through this program, whenever a CSHO observes the reference hazards and/or there is evidence of employee exposure or potential exposure, or sufficient circumstantial evidence has been gathered indicating that an exposure exists at the time of the inspection, the CSHO will notify the general contractor and will ask for abatement before leaving the site. In case the general contractor does not agree to correct the hazards, the corresponding area director will decide to post an imminent danger notice (PR-OSHA 8).
Utah uses a combination of federal (BLS), state (Division of Industrial Accidents) and commercially available data sources to target high-risk worksites. Industries with BLS incidence rates higher than the state’s private-sector average are initially targeted. This list is fine-tuned by using the local Industrial Accidents data, which provides more "real time" data. Finally, new construction projects are identified through the building permit process and are targeted during the construction "drive around" program.
Vermont OSHA (VOSHA) has two local emphasis programs: trenching and excavation; and falls. Compliance officers are instructed to stop whenever they encounter a trench or workers exposed to falls. VOSHA uses a high-hazard list developed from ODI and workers’ compensation. VOSHA has access to the employer database maintained by the Vermont Department of Labor.
Virginia has special emphasis inspection programs to address the major causes of fatal and serious nonfatal accidents in the following areas: fall hazards in construction, scaffolding, heavy construction equipment,public-sector workshops, overhead high-voltage lines, trenching and excavation, lumber and wood products, amputations, tree felling and delimbing, asbestos, lead, silica, waste water and water treatment facilities, and First Report of Accidents (FRA), such as amputations and serious chemical exposures.
Washington was the first state in the nation to have its occupational safety and health program in the same agency with an exclusive workers’ compensation system. Employers must either buy their industrial insurance from the state or apply and be approved to self-insure. Third-party private industrial insurance is not an option. Having OSH data and all of the state’s workers’ compensation data together in a data warehouse provides an excellent opportunity to conduct research about prevalent injuries in different industry sectors, target resources to address those issues, and to assess the results of services provided.
Although Washington has had a comprehensive targeting system for many years, it is in the process of being reevaluated and updated. Analysis conducted during Washington’s Government Management Accountability and Performance (GMAP) process, where injury data was matched with visit data, shows there are industries where more worksite visits need to be conducted. The targeting system is used to schedule inspections and for contacting employers to offer consultation or risk management services.
In 1994, Wyoming’s state plan merged with its workers’ compensation system, giving it access to employers’ compensation data. With that access to company-specific workers’ compensation data for more than 16,000 businesses, Wyoming is able to identify specific employers for inspections by comparing their number of claims reported to the number of employees, the cost of claims compared to the premium cost, the average cost of a claim and the experience modification rating. Instead of concentrating on specific industries, Wyoming is able to focus on individual employers. This information is used to identify employers for inspections or, if the employer chooses, a consultation visit.
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