OSHA Implements New Weighting System For Workplace Safety and Health Inspections
October 8, 2019
Late last month, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it has recently implemented the OSHA Weighting System (OWS) for fiscal year (FY) 2020. According to the agency, the OWS will encourage the appropriate allocation of resources to support OSHA’s balanced approach of promoting safe and healthy workplaces, and continue to develop and support a management system that focuses enforcement activities on critical and strategic areas where the agency’s efforts can have the most impact. The OWS became effective Oct. 1, 2019.
Under the current enforcement weighting system, 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. OWS recognizes that time is not the only factor to assess when considering the potential impact of an inspection. Per OSHA, other factors — such as types of hazards inspected and abated, and effective targeting — also influence the impact on workplace safety and health. The new OWS system adds enforcement initiatives such as the Site-Specific Targeting to the weighting system.
The OWS replaces the current enforcement weighting system initiated in FY 2015. The new system is based on an evaluation of the existing criteria and a working group’s recommendations regarding improvements to the existing weighting system. OSHA says it has been running the new weighting system to confirm data integrity.
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. The new OWS approach reinforces OSHA’s balanced approach to occupational safety and health (i.e., strong and fair enforcement, compliance assistance and recognition) and will 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.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
Contact ACA’s Riaz Zaman for more information.