OSHA Focusing On Recidivism In Its 2014 Site-Specific Targeting

by Hodgson Russ LLP

OSHA’s Site Specific Targeting (SST) program is aimed at high-hazard, non-construction workplaces and serves as OSHA’s primary plan for programmed inspections of these employers. The latest plan, SST-14, is coupled to an updated Compliance Directive that became effective on March 6, 2014.

SST-14, however, is no ordinary SST inspection plan. The updated Compliance Directive states that the initial focus of SST-14 is measuring the recidivism of employers who have been previously inspected, a process that was supposed to have begun last year under SST-12 (there is no SST-13). OSHA’s primary inspection lists for the SST-14 program will consist of 1,260 employers drawn from a random selection of the 2,250 establishments that fell on the primary or secondary federal inspection lists under OSHA’s SST program for 2011 (SST-11). That means a whopping 56 percent of employers previously inspected under SST-11 will probably see a re-inspection under SST-14. Employers facing these odds would be well advised to carefully evaluate their safety programs, workplace conditions, and overall compliance obligations. These employers should be especially wary of the possibility of repeat or willful violations being issued as part of a re-inspection if substantially similar violations are found to exist.

After the primary inspection lists are exhausted, a secondary inspection list will be generated from 2011 injury and illness data that employers reported in response to surveys issued to them in 2012 as part of OSHA’s 2012 Data Initiative. Generally speaking, the 2012 initiative focused on the following general industries: ornamental shrub, tree, and nursery; trucking and courier services; general and refrigerated warehousing, storage, and farm product facilities; airports and air transportation services and couriers; U.S. Postal Service; automobiles and other motor vehicles; motor vehicle parts suppliers (new and used); marinas; marine cargo handling, transportation, and towing/tugboat services; construction and building material (bricks, lumber, roofing, siding, insulation, etc.); scrap and waste materials; refuse systems; packing and crating; department stores; hospitals, nursing care, and intermediate care facilities and psychiatric and specialty hospitals; farms and animal farming (beef cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, livestock, dairy, poultry, eggs, horses, fur-bearing, and specialty); groceries; packaged frozen foods; confectionary; dairy products; fruits and vegetables; fish and seafoods; meat and meat products; poultry and poultry products; and beer, wine, and distilled beverages. A complete list of the covered industries by Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes can be found in Compliance Directive 14-01 (CPL 02). All told, some 70 SIC codes were encompassed by the 2012 data initiative, representing more than 80,000 employers.

The secondary inspection list under SST-14 will be developed from the 2012 data based on the following criteria: manufacturing establishments with a DART equal to or greater than 5.0 or a DAFWII equal to or greater than 4.0; non-manufacturing establishments with a DART equal to or greater than 7.0 or a DAFWII equal to or greater than 5.0; nursing and personal care establishments as selected under the existing National Emphasis Program; and a random sample of establishments that failed to respond to the 2012 data initiative.

Employers with a SIC listed in the Compliance Directive would be wise to revisit their 2011 injury and illness data and their 2012 survey responses to determine whether these criteria are met. While a rate in excess of the threshold does not guarantee an OSHA inspection, it certainly increases the odds.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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