OSHA has indicated that in FY 2014, it will conduct a total of 39,250 federal inspections – 31,400 safety inspections, and 7,850 health inspections.
This represents a decrease of 1,711 from the FY 2012 total, reflecting the implementation of OSHA’s new weighted inspection system. Of the 2012 total of 40,961 safety and health inspections, 33,580 were safety inspections and 7,381 were health inspections.
The targeting initiatives have successfully addressed some of the most serious hazards such as those found in refineries, trenching, shipbreaking, falls, chemical plants and industries that use crystalline silica, lead, and hexavalent chromium, among others.
OSHA officials have said they intend to explore adjustments to the agency’s enforcement approach and develop a system to rate inspections on complexity. Rating the complexity of an inspection should provide an incentive for OSHA compliance officers and Area Offices to focus time and effort on more complex inspections (such as Process Safety Management) that ultimately will have a greater impact on workplace safety and health.
On average, a safety inspection takes 22 hours and a health inspection takes 34 hours from start to finish. An ergonomics inspection can take hundreds of hours. A PSM inspection of an oil refinery can take over 1,000 hours from start to finish.
OSHA said it will continue to use national and local emphasis programs to target high-risk hazards and industries for inspections.