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US Department of Labor

Occupational Safety and Health Administration


Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Enforcement

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) mission is to promote and ensure 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 enforcing safe and healthful working conditions for men and women. Since the passage of the OSH Act of 1970, workplace deaths have fallen nearly 65 percent and occupational injury and illness rates have dropped 72 percent. OSHA continues to respond to new challenges from emerging industries, new technologies, and an ever-changing workforce by utilizing strategic mechanisms such as the Temporary Worker Initiative, National Emphasis Programs (NEPs), the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, and Corporate Settlement Agreements.


In FY 2016, OSHA conducted 31,948 total inspections. In addition, OSHA conducted 19,217 (about 60 percent) unprogrammed inspections, which includes employee complaints, injuries/fatalities, and referrals. The high percentage of unprogrammed inspections indicates that OSHA continues to devote more resources responding to injury-related activities as a result of the requirements for reporting severe injuries, which became effective January 1, 2015. OSHA also conducted 12,731(about 40 percent) programmed inspections. Programmed inspections focus OSHA's enforcement resources towards the industries and employers where known hazards exist (e.g., combustible dusts, chemical processing, hexavalent chromium, shipbreaking).

OSHA Inspection Statistics FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016
Total Inspections 40,614 40,961 39,228 36,163i 35,820 31,948
Total Programmed Inspections 23,329 23,078 22,170 19,222 16,527 12,731
Total Unprogrammed Inspections 17,285 17,883 17,058 16,941 19,293 19,217
~ Fatality/Catastrophe Inspections 851 900 826 850 912 890
~ Complaints Inspection 8,765 9,573 9,505 9,570 9,037 8,870
~ Referrals 4,776 4,864 4,024 3,829 4,705 4,641
~ Referrals - Employer Reported NA NA NA NA 1,864 2,050
~ Other Unprogrammed

2,893 2,546 2,703 2,525 3,686 2,766
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 Inspection Statistics FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016
Total Violations 85,514 78,723 78,186 67,680i, ii 64,763 58,702
Total Serious Violations 62,115 57,112 58,316 49,616 47,934 42,984
Total Willful Violations 594 423 319 439 527 524
Total Repeat Violations 3,229 3,034 3,139 2,966 3,088 3,146
Total Other-than-Serious 19,306 18,054 16,290 14,503 13,016 11,895
Note: Hazard Alert Letters (HALS) were excluded from the total violation count publicized prior to FY 2014 and FY 2015, but were included in FY 2014 and FY 2015. This enforcement report adjusts FY 2014 and FY 2015 to reflect the total violation count excluding HALs. FY 2016 total violation count excludes HALs

In FY 2016, OSHA began the Enforcement Weighting System (EWS). The EWS assigns a value to specific categories of inspections and investigations. The value is known as an Enforcement Unit (EU) and all inspections receive an EU value of at least one. The new system underscores the importance of the resource-intensive enforcement activity that is focused on some of the most hazardous work place hazards such as ergonomics, heat, chemical exposures, workplace violence and process safety management.


Enforcement Weighting Values OSHA Enforcement Weighting - FY 2016 Inspection Summary
Inspection Category Type EU Value Type of Inspection Inspections EUs
Federal Agency 2 Federal Agencies 657 1,314
Process Safety Management 7 Process Safety Management 234 1,638
Combustible Dust 2 Combustible Dust 491 982
5a1 Ergonomic 5 5a1 Ergonomic 69 345
5a1 Heat 4 5a1 Heat 187 748
5a1 Non-PEL Exposures 3 5a1 Non-PEL Exposures 20 60
5a1 Workplace Violence 3 5a1 Workplace Violence 49 147
Fatality/Catastrophe 3 Fatality/Catastrophe 866 2,598
Personal Sampling 2 Personal Sampling 1,582 3,164
SIG Case 8 Sig Case 131 1,048
Phone/Fax Complaints 1/9 Phone/Fax/Complaint 21,738 2,410
Rapid Response Investigations 1/9 Rapid Response Investigations 7,088 784
All Other Inspections 1 Non-Weighted Inspections 27,662 27,662

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 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.