The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will continue unannounced inspections this year to verify that worker illness and injury reports are valid and to deter underreporting of incidents.

Effective until mid-October 2019, the OSHA Site-Specific Targeting program may trigger inspections of injury and illness electronic data submitted by employers, an employee health expert noted in a recently published article.

“Federal OSHA will be conducting comprehensive, wall-to-wall inspections, either a safety or a health inspection — or both, based on certain employers’ electronic filing in 2017 of their 2016 OSHA 300A Annual Summary forms,” noted Stephen A. Burt, BS, MFA, president and CEO of Healthcare Compliance Resources, an affiliate of Woods Rogers Consulting in Roanoke, VA.

“These unannounced inspections apply to hospitals and long-term care facilities with at least 20 [employees],” he added.1

OSHA inspections are randomly determined from target groups the agency terms “High-Rate” and “Low-Rate.” According to OSHA, the random inspections are performed in part “to deter employers from failing to report their injury and illness information to avoid inspection.”

State OSHA programs have until April 16, 2019, to either adopt the federal OSHA inspection plan or develop similar state policies. Employers are advised to be proactive and make sure they are submitting accurate reports to OSHA.

“As a practical matter, you should probably just do the right thing and get in compliance now so that you do not have to worry about whether your workplace is on a targeted list,” Burt wrote.

REFERENCE

  1. Burt SA. OSHA Announces New Site-Specific Targeting Inspection Plan Based on Electronic Recordkeeping Rule Data. AOHP E-newsletter, October 2018:8-9.