For 2013 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plans at least 1,260 randomly selected inspections of employer job sites with a focus on workplaces having above average injury and illness rates. OSHA’s site-specific targeting (SST) became effective in January 2013, and OSHA has stated this will continue through January 2014. We would not be surprised if this SST program continues beyond 2014.

The SST program is OSHA’s main programmed inspection plan for non-construction workplaces that have 20 or more employees. OSHA otherwise inspects job sites, typically with no advance notice, where they have reason to believe there is imminent danger, where there has been a reported catastrophe or fatal accident, where there is an employee complaint involving safety and health, or to conduct a follow-up inspection after a prior inspection. When during an inspection OSHA finds a violation of a federal safety regulation to which there is employee exposure, it can issue citations, assess fines and order the employer to comply with an applicable safety regulation, subject to contest rights and an adjudicatory process if pursued by the employer.

OSHA selects establishments for inspections under the SST program based on work site specific injury and illness rates. OSHA will consider days that an employee is away from work because of work injury and illness (DAFWII) and also days that an employee is away, restricted or transferred to another job because of work injury and illness (DART). The DAFWII case rate is the number of cases that involve days away from work per 100 full-time equivalent employees. Cases that involve only temporary transfers to another job or restricted work are not included. This is calculated based on (N/EH) x (200,000), where N is the number of cases involving days away from work, EH is the total number of hours worked by all employees during the calendar year and 200,000 is the base number of hours worked for 100 full-time equivalent employees. DART is calculated based on (N/EH) x (200,000), where N is the number of cases involving days away and/or restricted work activity and/or job transfers, EH is the total number of hours worked by all employees during the calendar year and 200,000 is the base number of hours worked for 100 full-time equivalent employees.

Pursuant to the SST program, throughout 2013 and through January 2014 OSHA is inspecting work sites with 20 or more employees that have the following DART and DAFWII case rates for 2010:

  • Manufacturing establishments with a DART rate at or above 7.0 or a DAFWII case rate at or above 5.0 (only one of these criteria must be met).
  • Non-manufacturing establishments (except for nursing and personal care facilities) with a DART rate at or above 15.0 or a DAFWII rate at or above 14.0 (only one of these criteria must be met).

Nursing and personal care establishments are also subject to OSHA inspections, though pursuant to a separate OSHA directive (CPL 03-00-016), which is also based upon injury and illness rates. Further, even if a work site has fewer than 20 employees at the time an OSHA inspector arrives on site to begin an inspection, that inspection will take place if the establishment has 10 or more employees and a calculated DART rate of 3.6 or greater or a DAFWII rate of 2.2 or greater or if records are not available.

Should an OSHA inspector arrive at your work site to inspect, (s)he likely will perform a comprehensive inspection focused on your company’s compliance with applicable federal safety regulations. While it is important to cooperate with OSHA, an employer has rights. If you have questions about what to do and what not to do should an OSHA inspector show up at your work site, or if OSHA has performed an inspection with resulting citations and fines to your company, we may be able to help. We are experienced with all facets of OSHA matters, and can also advise on whether a company will likely be targeted for an inspection by OSHA’s SST program.