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OSHA'S 2010 enforcement summary

April 29, 2011
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OSHA continued to maintain its high level of annual inspection activity. In FY 2010, OSHA conducted 40,993 total inspections. This number includes 164 significant and egregious (instance-by-instance) enforcement actions, each resulting in a total proposed monetary penalty of more than $100,000. In addition, OSHA conducted 24,759 programmed inspections. These inspections indicate that OSHA devoted more resources to proactively target the industries and employers that experienced the greatest number of workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA also conducted 16,234 unprogrammed inspections, including employee complaints, accidents, and referrals. The number of fatality investigations decreased by 25.6%- a significant decrease over the past five fiscal years, thus demonstrating OSHA 's firm commitment to reducing the number of workplace fatalities.

Hazards Identified: Total Violations Increase

In FY 2010, OSHA found 96,742 violations of OSHA 's standards and regulations in the nation 's workplaces, a 15.3% increase since FY 2006. The total number of serious and repeat violations issued increased by 22.1% and 8.1%, respectively, over the past five years. The total number of willful violations issued significantly increased by 217.1% since FY 2006 and increased by 278.8% since FY 2009.

These numbers demonstrate that OSHA is identifying and eliminating more serious hazards in the workplace, as well as identifying more employers who have intentionally violated OSHA standards and ignored their duty to provide a safe and healthful workplace under the OSH Act.

Protecting Whistleblowers: Integral to OSHA 's Mission

Section 11(c) of the Act prohibits retaliation, in any manner, against employees who exercise their rights under the Act. These rights include complaining to OSHA and seeking an OSHA inspection, participating in an OSHA inspection, and participating or testifying in any proceeding related to an OSHA inspection. By protecting workers against retaliation for engaging in these activities, section 11(c) is essential to OSHA 's core mission. In FY 2010, OSHA completed 1,177 section 11(c) investigations, and the 27 State programs completed 1,039 investigations.

Summary

OSHA's enforcement efforts remain vital to workplace safety and health by targeting the most hazardous workplaces and the employers that have the highest injury and illness rates. Innovative approaches, such as the SVEP, enable OSHA to effectively identify serious safety and health hazards, to address recalcitrant employers, and to efficiently use its resources. OSHA 's continual focus on its mission to reduce workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities will enable OSHA to help make good jobs, safe jobs.

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