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US Department of Labor

Occupational Safety and Health Administration


Occupational Safety and Health Administration Enforcement

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) mission is to promote and to assure workplace safety and health, and to reduce workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. With over four decades of working to ensure safe and healthy workplaces, OSHA has continually served a vital role in assuring safe and healthful working conditions for men and women. Since the passage of the OSH Act of 1970, workplace deaths decreased nearly 66 percent and occupational injury and illness rates decreased 67 percent. OSHA continues to respond to new challenges from emerging industries, new technologies, and an ever-changing workforce by utilizing strategic mechanisms such as site specific targeting (SST), national emphasis programs (NEPs), the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, and corporate-wide settlement agreements.


In FY 2015, OSHA conducted 35,820 total inspections. This number includes 123 significant enforcement actions [including eight egregious (instance-by-instance) cases]. In addition, OSHA conducted 19,293 unprogrammed inspections, initiated through employee complaints, injuries/fatalities, and referrals. OSHA also conducted 16,527 programmed inspections. Programmed inspections devote resources toward proactively targeting the industries and employers that experienced the greatest number of workplace injuries and illnesses. During FY 2015, OSHA dedicated more resources responding to unprogrammed activities, due in large part to the new severe injury reporting requirements, which became effective January 1, 2015.

OSHA Inspection Statistics FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015
Total Inspections 40,993 40,614 40,961 39,228 36,174i 35,820
Total Programmed Inspections 24,773 23,329 23,078 22,170 19,195 16,527
Total Unprogrammed Inspections 16,220 17,285 17,883 17,058 16,979 19,293
Fatality/Catastrophe Investigations 830 851 900 826 853 912
Complaints 8,027 8,765 9,573 9,505 9,568 9,037
Referrals 4,634 4,776 4,864 4,024 3,840 4,705
Other Unprogrammed Inspections 2,729 2,893 2,546 2,703 2,718 4,639ii

* Other unprogrammed inspections include: monitoring, follow-up, variance, unprogrammed related, unprogrammed other, and employer reported referral inspections.

Note: FY 2011 includes OSHA Information System (OIS) data and OSHA's Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) data that is of limited comparability to previous years that only include IMIS data.

OSHA Violation Statistics FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015
Total Violations 96,742 85,514 78,723 78,186 67,941iii 65,044
Total Serious Violations 74,885 62,115 57,112 58,316 49,616 47,934
Total Willful Violations 1,519iv 594 423 319 439 527
Total Repeat Violations 2,758 3,229 3,034 3,139 2,966 3,088
Total Other-than-Serious 17,244 19,306 18,054 16,290 14,503 13,016

Note: Agency technical assistance requests, hazard alert letters, failure-to-abate, and unclassified violations are not included in the table.

For more information on OSHA inspections, see the OSHA Inspection Fact Sheet, or click this link for more information on OSHA’s compliance assistance services, and OSHA’s free on-site assistance for small employers For information on employee rights, see the OSHA Workers Page

i The October 2013 government shutdown occurred during this time period.

ii FY 2015 was the first year OSHA began tracking “employer reported referral” inspections. This category is the result of the new recordkeeping rule in which employers are responsible for reporting all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye to OSHA within 24 hours. Employer reported referral inspections accounted for 1,864 unprogrammed inspections in FY 2015.

iii Much of the decrease in total violations in FY 2014 is attributed to the government shutdown that occurred from October 1-16, 2013. Without the government shutdown, OSHA estimates that there would have been approximately 71,000 total violations recorded in FY 2014.

iv It should be noted that the significant increase in willful violations in FY 2010 is due to a number of significant enforcement actions in the refinery industry, including an action against BP North America, which was subsequently settled.