USA: OSHA has announced changes to its enforcement weighting system and it says it will now consider a number of factors when considering the impact of a workplace safety inspection.
Under the current enforcement weighting system initiated in 2015, OSHA weights certain inspections based on the time taken to complete the inspection or, in some cases, the impact of the inspection on workplace safety and health.
The new system (OWS), effective as of October 2019, recognizes that time is not the only factor to assess when considering the potential impact of an inspection. Other factors – such as types of hazards inspected and abated, and effective targeting – also influence the impact on workplace safety and health.
OWS also adds enforcement initiatives such as the Site-Specific Targeting to the weighting system.
“The system will continue to weight inspections, but will do so based on other factors, including agency priorities and the impact of inspections, rather than simply on a time-weighted basis,” OSHA said in a statement.
OSHA added that the new approach would incorporate the three major work elements performed by the field:
- enforcement activity,
- essential enforcement support functions (e.g., severe injury reporting and complaint resolution),
- and compliance assistance efforts
The change comes at a time when OSHA has been registering slightly fewer total enforcement units year on year. From 42,900 in 2016, the agency registered 41,829 in FY 2017, and 41,796 in FY 2018.