OSHA exceeded its inspection goal for FY 2004, completing 39,167 total inspections, according to the agency’s annual enforcement statistics released Thursday. This total includes more than 300 inspections under the new Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP), which focuses on employers who repeatedly ignore their safety and health obligations.

OSHA also completed nearly 3,000 inspections within industries identified with high injury and illness rates.

“Our enforcement remained strong in FY 04,” said OSHA chief John Henshaw. “We exceeded our inspection goals; we strengthened our compliance assistance through our new enhanced enforcement program; and we found more violations and issued more serious and willful citations indicating a more accurate targeting system for workplaces and industries with a high proportion of injuries and illnesses.”

Henshaw said the agency cited 86,708 violations of OSHA standards and regulations during FY 04, an increase of 3.8 percent over the previous year and nearly 10 percent over the past five years. Of particular significance was the increase in serious and willful violations issued during FY 04 (three percent and 14 percent, respectively, over FY 03). Henshaw said the increases demonstrate that OSHA is targeting the right workplaces for inspections by accurately identifying employers who repeatedly or willfully violate the law.

Henshaw also noted that injury and illness rates continue to decline and that fatality rates held their downward trend — an 11 percent decrease over the past five years.

“OSHA's enforcement program is a key part of an overall approach which also includes training, compliance assistance, outreach, education, partnerships and cooperative programs that, together, make vital contributions to occupational health and safety,” said Henshaw.