- Standard Number:
OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
January 8, 1991
James C. Burkhart CSP, CIH
Loss Control Manager
Continental Technical Services
One Continental Drive
Cranbury, New Jersey 08570-2105
Dear Mr. Burkhart:
Thank you for your letter of December 4, 1990, expressing your concern that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) use of loss control reports prepared by an insurance company for its policyholders, will create a detrimental relationship between the company and the policyholders.
During the course of safety and health inspections, OSHA compliance officers (CSHOs) are required to review and evaluate an employer safety and health programs and review employer records to gain valuable insight into where hazards may be found. These steps ensure more effective inspections.
An employer usually provides to the CSHO loss control reports that its insurance company created, among other records when requested, in order to demonstrate the company's overall good faith in ensuring a safe workplace for its employees.
When a company is found by the CSHO to have acted upon recommendations made by the insurance company, or by consultants, this information usually results in no citations, or citations with a reduced penalty structure based on the employer's good faith. This normally leads to a positive relationship between the employer and the insurance company, or other safety and health entities.
When the company is found by the CSHO to have knowledge of a hazard either by internal records, consultant's reports, or insurance company reports, such as the loss control reports, and have not taken action for correcting the identified hazard, then CSHOs are instructed to investigate the cause. If the reasons are sufficient to meet the definition of a willful violation, then OSHA may issue a willful citation with appropriate penalties.
It has always been OSHA's policy to use employer records to determine the level of management involvement in its safety and health program. We regret that this may cause a detrimental relationship between some employers and whomever they contact for consultation. However, we feel that the responsible employer will recognize the value of the recommendations from another safety and health entity and act on the advice given through various reports, creating a positive rather than a detrimental relationship.
Your letter indicated that loss control reports are created by the insurance companies to assist employers "... in identifying hazards and improving their management programs in an effort to reduce accident frequency, severity, and the potential for loss." These are common goals of both the insurance companies and OSHA, and by working together we will accomplish those goals.
Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. If we can be of further service, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Gerard F. Scannell