Monday, September 12, 2011

OSHA's new Annual Inspection Plan for Hazardous Workplaces

Check out this article from  It talks about OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting (SST) program in which OSHA will direct more attention to enforcing safety in high-hazard workplaces.  This year the minimum number of employees required to warrant an inspection under the SST program has decreased from 40 to 20.  OSHA will also be evaluating the program's effectiveness and impact on future compliance issues and OSHA standards.  Here is the article:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued its annual inspection plan under the Site-Specific Targeting* 2011 (SST-11) program to help the agency direct enforcement resources to high-hazard workplaces where the highest rates of injuries and illnesses occur.

The SST program is OSHA's main programmed inspection plan for non-construction workplaces that have 20 or more workers. High-hazard workplaces identified in the SST program reported above-average work-related injury and illness rates, based on data collected from a 2010 OSHA Data Initiative survey of 80,000 larger establishments in selected high-hazard industries. Establishments are randomly selected for inspection from a primary list of 3,700 manufacturing, non-manufacturing, and nursing and personal care facilities.

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"By focusing our inspection resources on employers in high hazard industries who endanger their employees, we can prevent injuries and illnesses and save lives," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. "Through the SST program we examine all major aspects of these operations to determine the effectiveness of their safety and health efforts."

Two changes have been made to this year's SST program. In 2010, only those establishments in the selected industries with 40 or more employees were subject to inspections under the SST plan; this year, that number has been reduced to 20 or more. An evaluation study measuring the program's impact on future compliance with OSHA standards has also been introduced for the 2011 program.

In addition to the SST program, OSHA implements both national and local emphasis inspection programs to target high-risk hazards and industries. OSHA currently has 14 National Emphasis Programs that intensify inspections related to amputations, lead, crystalline silica, shipbreaking, trenching/excavations, petroleum refinery process safety management, process safety management covered chemical facilities, hexavalent chromium, diacetyl, recordkeeping, federal agencies, air traffic control tower monitoring, primary metals and combustible dust. OSHA also has approximately 140 Regional and Local Emphasis Programs (REPs and LEPs).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.