News Release USDL: 96-292
Monday, July 23, 1996
Contact: Frank Kane (202) 219-8151
Publications: (202) 219-4667
OSHA To Pilot Test System That Could
Reduce Penalties Up To 100 Percent For
Corporations That Initiate Safety And
In another move to implement President Clinton's
efforts to reinvent government, the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will test
a system that would reduce penalties for employers
with excellent safety and health programs.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational
Safety and Health Joseph A. Dear said, "The New
OSHA promises a departure from any
'one-size-fits-all' regulatory approach that
treats all workplaces and all hazards equally.
In issuing penalties for safety and health
violations, we will treat employers who implement
good safety and health programs differently from
those who fail to make such efforts.
The test will involve revisions designed to
achieve penalty application goals described
in President Clinton's May 1995 National
Performance Review report "The New OSHA:
Reinventing Worker Safety and Health."
It will be conducted in six OSHA area offices
in: Harrisburg, Pa.; Austin, Tex.; Billings,
Mont.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Atlanta, Ga. (East);
and Atlanta, Ga. (West) starting Aug. 1 and
run until Nov. 15.
Our goal, as always, is to increase workplace
safety and health, and help ease the adversarial
relationship between business and regulators.
The primary responsibility for ensuring safety
and health will be in the hands of managers and
workers at individual worksites. The pilot will
test whether these policies will help achieve
OSHA wants its penalty policy to provide:
increased penalty reductions for smaller employers.
better incentives for employers to implement
good safety and health programs.
little change from present penalties for average-sized
employers with average programs.
serious consequences for serious violators.
penalties adequate for deterrence.
With the pilot test, OSHA hopes to learn
how well the proposed changes achieve the
objectives; if the system works for compliance
officers, and if the system makes sense to
During the same period, the six OSHA offices
will also be pilot testing the new Program
Evaluation Profile (PEP), used to assess employer
safety and health programs in general industry
Careful pilot testing is a critical element in
all of the agency's reinvention efforts, Dear
said. OSHA is committed to experimenting with
different strategies to meet its mission of
reducing injuries, illnesses and fatalities
across the nation.
Dear cited a "tremendous gap" between the
agency's mission, to make the six million
American workplaces as safe and healthful as
possible for more than 90 million workers, and
the resources available to do the job--about
$305 million in the current year. A new penalty
policy that emphasizes partnership and
encourages safety and health programs, he said,
will help to close that gap.
A good safety and health program generally
includes management leadership; employee
participation; analysis of the worksite to identify
safety and health hazards; effective elimination or
control of the hazards; and safety and health
Single free copies of the notices on the two pilot
tests may be obtained after Aug. 1, 1996 by sending
a self-addressed label to the U.S. Department of
Labor, OSHA/OSHA Publications, P.O. Box 37535
Washington, DC 20013-7535. Telephone (202) 219-4667,
fax (202) 219-9266.
SUMMARY OF PENALTY REVISIONS TO BE TESTED
Key features of the revised system to
be tested include:
Stipulating that no penalties shall be
proposed for other-than-serious violations
if the employer had 250 or fewer employees
(company-wide) at all times during the past
12 months and the current inspection does not
reveal any willful, repeated or failure-to-abate
violations. (This policy does not apply to
violations of regulatory requirements such as
requirements for recordkeeping or for posting
Changing the penalty adjustment factors
for size to:
one to 10 employees, 80 percent reduction;
11 to 30 employees, 65 percent reduction;
31 to 100, 40 percent reduction;
101 to 250 employees, 20 percent reduction.
There will be no size adjustment penalty reduction
for employers with 251 or more employees. (If
the inspection finds any violations classified
as high-gravity serious, willful, repeated or
failure-to-abate, the size adjustment will be
limited to no more than 40%)
Providing a good faith penalty adjustment
factor ranging up to an 80 percent reduction
based on evaluation of the employer's overall
safety and health program. No good faith
reduction will be given when a repeated,
willful or failure-to-abate violation is found
in the current inspection or when the worksite
has no overall safety and health program or
less than a developmental program. Employers
will receive no more than a 40 percent reduction
for good faith if the worksite has a lost workday
injury rate at or above the national average for
the industry or there are any high gravity serious
violations or more than a few total violations.
If a worksite qualifies for a 60 percent or 80
percent good faith reduction, no penalties shall
be proposed for other-than-serious violations.
Increasing the penalty for high gravity
serious violations to a mandatory $7,000 --
the statutory maximum.
An employer who had a previous OSHA inspection
within the last five years with no citation
for serious, willful, repeat or failure-to-abate
violations would receive a penalty reduction of
10 percent based on history. The area director
may determine that a reduction for history can
be given in other circumstances.
The area offices involved in the pilot test
will determine the appropriate reduction percentages
for size, history and good faith and add them,
also adding any quick-fix reduction for abating
hazards for each violation to which it applies.
The total may not exceed 100 percent. (If the sum
of all reduction percentages exceeds 100%, any
percentage over 100 percent is to be disregarded.)
The result will be the proposed penalty issued
to the employer.
At the same time, the area offices are to calculate
what the penalty would have been using the current
method to help in the evaluation.
SUMMARY OF PROGRAM EVALUATION PROFILE
Purpose: To be used in assessing employer safety and health programs
in general industry workplaces.
Elements and factors to be scored:
(1) Management Leadership and Employee
Participation. In addition to those elements,
the evaluation will include implementation [tools
provided by management including budget, information,
personnel, assigned responsibility, adequate expertise
and authority, line accountability, and program review
(2) Workplace Analysis, including survey and hazard
analysis, inspection, and reporting.
(3) Accident and Record Analysis, including
investigation of accidents and near-miss incidents
and data analysis.
(4) Hazard Prevention and Control, including
hazard control, maintenance, and the medical program.
(5) Emergency Response, including emergency
preparedness and first aid.
(6) Safety and Health Training (as a whole).
Overall Score: An overall score for the worksite
will be calculated by taking the average of the
six individual scores of the elements and dividing
Program Levels: The overall score on the PEP
constitutes the level at which the establishment's
safety and health program is scored. A score of 5
is an outstanding program, score of 4 is a superior
program, score of 3 is a basic program, score of 2
is a developmental program and score of 1 is no
program or ineffective program.
Written Programs: Employer safety and health
programs should be in writing to be effectively
implemented and communicated. However, a program's
effectiveness is more important than whether it
is in writing. A small worksite may have an
effective program that is not written, but is
well understood and followed by employees.