OSHA Announces New Safety Inspection Standards

October 1, 2015, the Department of Labor officially announced a new safety inspection protocol for OSHA investigations.

OSHA initially began piloting a program referred to as the Enforcement Weighting System.  Under this system the agency assigns a measure, called an “enforcement unit” or “EU” to a particular type of investigation. The higher the enforcement unit value, the more complex the nature of the investigation and the more resources OSHA will anticipate expending to investigate the situation.  For example, OSHA has stated that a Process Safety Management (PSM) inspection will receive more EUs than an enforcement inspection and no investigation will exceed eight EUs.  Specific examples provided by OSHA include:  PSM – 7 EUs; Workplace Violence inspections – 3 EUs. To determine these valuations OSHA relied heavily on historical enforcement data, though I would anticipate these valuations may be adjusted over time.  

All employers should be familiar with OSHA’s role in investigating workplaces.  The following fact sheet provided by the Department can be a helpful overview and provide some guidance on what to anticipate with an inspection -  https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/factsheet-inspections.pdf.


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