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OSHA Announces Site-Specific Targeting Program to Focus Inspection Priorities at Establishments with High Injury and Illness Rates

Beginning October 16, 2018, employers with high injury and illness rates can expect more frequent OSHA inspections in connection with the resurrection of the agency’s Site-Specific Targeting (SST) Program.  OSHA will use the SST Program to prioritize employer facilities and establishments for health and safety inspections in the coming year.

The SST Program will harness the results of OSHA’s Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule, which required employers to electronically submit Form 300A data for calendar year 2016 by December 15, 2017.  OSHA will conduct comprehensive, programmed inspections at a random sample of establishments that failed to provide Form 300A data by the December 15, 2017 deadline.  OSHA will also inspect facilities with elevated DART rates (the DART rate measures injuries and illnesses resulting in time away from work, restricted job roles, or permanent transfers to new positions).  And as a small number of unfortunate facilities will discover, OSHA will also inspect a sample of facilities with low DART rates, to verify reliability of Form 300A data submitted.

The OSHA Directive establishing the SST Program is available here.  Notably, the SST Program does not apply to construction workplaces or workplaces with less than 20 employees.  OSHA states that the program will ensure that employers provide safe and healthful workplaces by directing enforcement resources to those workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses.  The SST Program is currently set to expire October 16, 2019, at which time OSHA may renew or replace the program, or let it lapse.

In addition to the SST program, OSHA implements national and local emphasis inspection programs to target high-risk hazards and industries.  OSHA’s current National Emphasis Programs (NEPs) focus on lead, ship-breaking, trenching/excavations, process safety management, hazardous machinery, hexavalent chromium, primary metal industries, and combustible dust.

Key Takeaway

  • Employers who fall into the prioritized categories (including those establishments that failed to submit injury and illness Form 300A data) may wish to take additional steps to prepare for the heightened risk of an OSHA inspection in the coming year from the agency’s SST program.

This post was drafted by Paul Jacobson, an attorney in the Kansas City, MO office of Spencer Fane LLP. For more information, visit spencerfane.com.