According to a plan announced at the 2015 National Safety Council Congress & Expo, OSHA will now be focusing less on tracking the actual number of inspections conducted. David Michaels, an administrator acting as spokesperson, said that this was part of a plan to look more at the quality rather than quantity of inspections and would account for the nuances in each unique company’s inspection needs.
The new plan will weigh inspections that require more time and effort more heavily than routine processes, according to a system that divides different points of inspections into various “Enforcement Units.” The Deputy Director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, spoke at a Q & A session with Safety + Health magazine during the NSC expo. Speaking about the organizational structure of this new system, Kapust said:
“The new enforcement weighting system assigns greater value to complex inspections that require more time and resources. The new system will allow for more strategic planning and measurement of inspections, and ensure that all workers are equally protected, regardless of the industry they work in. Routine inspections count as 1 “Enforcement Unit,” while those requiring greater resources – such as those involving musculoskeletal disorders, chemical exposures, workplace violence, and process safety management violations – count anywhere from 2 to 8 units. The values are based on historical data and will be monitored and adjusted as necessary.”
The department hopes that reducing the number of inspections that must be performed will allow OSHA officials to take more time and conduct more thorough safety and health investigations as dictated by the specific conditions at each worksite. Kapust also made a point to stress that most other aspects of the OSHA inspection process will remain unchanged, and that employers should still work to eliminate hazards immediately even if the regional inspector may no longer have quotas to fill.