OSHA's Enhanced Enforcement Policy will focus on employers who receive "high gravity" citations. High gravity citations, based on the potential to inflict the most serious injuries or death, are issued at an inspector's discretion and must be approved by both area office directors and regional administrators.
The policy focuses on five specific areas that will be strengthened: 1) follow-up inspections; 2) programmed inspections; 3) public awareness; 4) settlements; and 5) federal court enforcement.
The policy changes were prompted by reports in The New York Times about a Birmingham, Ala., company that has one of the worst safety records in the country. McWane, Inc., which makes cast-iron sewer and water pipes, employs 5,000 workers in a dozen plants across the country operating under different names. The newspaper reported that the company had been cited for more than 400 safety violations since 1995, during which nine workers were killed - three because of deliberate safety violations, OSHA inspectors found. At least 4,600 injuries occurred.