Surprise! OSHA plans 4,400 unannounced visits

Some 4,400 workplaces deemed "high hazard" will receive unannounced comprehensive inspections from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) during fiscal year 2005-2006. OSHA announced in August its 2005 site-specific targeting (SST) plan will focus on approximately 4,400 high-hazard work sites for unannounced comprehensive inspections over the coming year.

Over the past seven years, OSHA has used an SST inspection program based on injury and illness data; this year's program is based on data surveys from 2004, drawn from approximately 80,000 employers' injury and illness numbers.

The 2005-2006 program will initially cover about 4,400 individual work sites on the primary list that reported 12 or more injuries or illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer for every 100 full-time workers (known as the DART rate). OSHA will again inspect nursing homes and personal care facilities, but only the highest 50% rated establishments will be included on the primary list. The agency also will randomly select and inspect about 400 workplaces (with 75 or more employees) across the nation that reported low injury and illness rates for the purpose of reviewing the actual degree of compliance with OSHA requirements. Finally, the agency will include on the primary list some establishments that did not respond to the 2004 data survey.