Enforcement and Inspection

Are You Bad? Watch Out, Because OSHA’s Going Nationwide

Yesterday, we looked at the changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) reporting requirements that will go into effect on January 1, 2015. But that’s not the only change OSHA has recently made that will affect its enforcement efforts—and not all of the changes have been announced in a press release.

When OSHA changed its reporting requirements, its stated intent was to “help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing” workplace deaths and injuries. The rule change is consistent with OSHA’s other recent attempts to fine-tune its enforcement activities by identifying and cracking down on employers who may be shirking their health and safety responsibilities.

Scrutinizing Safety Incentives

In the wake of a 2009 report by the Government Accountability Office that criticized OSHA’s injury and illness records as badly undercounting actual workplace injuries and illnesses, OSHA began looking very closely at employers that have safety incentive programs. Some of these programs appear to reward workers for simply not reporting workplace injuries, rather than for working safely. OSHA will go through the records of any employer that might be suppressing injury and illness reporting in this way— even if the effect was unintended—with a fine-tooth comb.

Since the end of 2009, OSHA has been actively seeking out employers that it believes under-record or improperly record injury and illness data through recordkeeping inspections. Join us for this webinar to learn how to ensure your record keeping strategies are in FULL compliance! Join now!

The Severe Violators Enforcement Program (SVEP)

In June 2010, OSHA issued its Severe Violators Enforcement Program, a National Emphasis Program whose purpose was to help OSHA identify and focus on employers that demonstrate indifference to their OSH Act obligations by willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations. Employers that end up in the SVEP receive mandatory follow-up inspections; nationwide inspections of other worksites owned by the same employer, more onerous abatement and settlement requirements, and bad publicity.

“National” Emphasis Programs

OSHA has also been criticized for its “National Emphasis Programs,” which applied only in states and territories covered by federal OSHA. State-plan states were sometimes encouraged to adopt these enforcement programs, but adoption was not required until 2010. In 2010, federal OSHA began requiring state-plan states to adopt its National Emphasis Programs (NEPs) when they are newly issued or reissued, so the NEPs would be truly “national.” The Primary Metals Manufacturing NEP, issued in May 2010, was the first that state plans were required to adopt; the SVEP was another truly “national” enforcement program.

Join us for our OSHA 300 Recordkeeping Webinar: Top 10 OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Mistakes and How to Ensure Your Recording Strategies Are in Full Compliance! It’s clear that OSHA takes illness and injury recordkeeping very seriously, make sure you’re taking it JUST AS seriously! Click here to register now and learn more on the basic steps to recordkeeping!

Compliance Directives Quietly Expand

As of April 2014, OSHA is also requiring state-plan states to adopt all of its compliance directives, although it has made no direct announcement of this policy change. When OSHA issues a compliance directive—for example, its “Inspection Procedures for Accessing Communications Towers by Hoist,” which was updated on July 17, 2014, state-plan states are now given 60 days to begin the process of adopting an equivalent enforcement program.

The exemption from injury and illness recordkeeping for employers with 10 or fewer employees, regardless of their industry classification has not changed. If you want to keep a step ahead of OSHA in your recordkeeping and reporting, join us for this webinar …

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