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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 (OSHA) is authorized by the Occupational Safety Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) to assure employers provide safe and healthful conditions for working men and women free of recognized hazards and by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, outreach, education, and technical assistance. OSHA also establishes cooperative programs to partner and work collaboratively with employers, employees, and other stakeholders. These intervention strategies are designed to deter, assist, and work together with employers and employees to reduce workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.


In FY 2020, OSHA conducted 21,674 inspections, including 12,948 (about 60 percent) unprogrammed inspections, which includes employee complaints, injuries/fatalities, and referrals, all of which were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of these 21,674 inspections, 8,726 (about 40 percent) were programmed inspections that focused OSHA’s enforcement resources towards industries and operations where known hazards exist (e.g., combustible dusts, chemical processing, ship-breaking, and falls in construction).

OSHA Inspection Statistics
OSHA Inspection Statistics FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020*
Total Inspections 35,280 31,948 32,408 32,023 33,393 21,674
Total Programmed Inspections 16,527 12,731 14,377 13,956 14,900 8,726
Total Unprogrammed Inspections 19,293 19,217 18,031 18,067 18,493 12,948
~ Fatality/Catastrophe Inspections 912 890 837 941 919 1,508
~ Complaints Inspection 9,037 8,870 8,249 7,489 7,391 4,581
~ Referrals* 6,569 6,691 6,286 6,463 6,718 4,808
~ Other Unprogrammed Inspections 3,686 2,766 2,659 3,174 3,465 2,051
*The COVID-19 global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 occurred during this time. FY20 enforcement OIS data is preliminary and as of November 9, 2020.

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