In FY2005, OSHA enforcement remained strong and effective. OSHA issued more willful violations during FY2005 than in any previous year. However, the ultimate measure of OSHA's effectiveness, the reduction in workplace injuries, illnesses and loss of life, showed that more workers than ever before go home safe, healthy and whole to their families at the end of the workday.
Enforcement Focus on Specific Sites with Poor Performance
The Agency's Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP) focuses on specific employers who, despite OSHA's enforcement and outreach efforts, repeatedly ignore their OSH Act obligations, and place their employees at risk. This program is quite simply a “targeting” of the “worst” performers by directing the government’s limited resources toward improving those specific worksites, first. These poor performers also receive additional follow-up inspections to ensure compliance, and abatement plans as well as settlements contain more stringent provisions and requirements.
Enforcement Also Targets “High-Hazard” Groups
In a further effort to ensure the best use of its limited resources, OSHA uses a second enforcement targeting method that identifies those groups of industries with highest injury/illness rates and the highest proportion of severe injuries/illnesses. OSHA then focuses their enforcement efforts on these groups as well as targeting outreach and educational activities toward these groups.
Inspection Activity Remains Vigorous
In FY2005, OSHA conducted 38,714 total inspections, exceeding its goal of 37,700. The agency conducted more inspections based on referrals from other agencies than the previous year. A total of 85,307 violations of OSHA's standards and regulations were found in the nation's workplaces; a 9.5 percent increase since 2001. In addition, the number of willful violations increased 62 percent over FY2004. The increase in willful violations shows that OSHA enforcement continues to be strong, identifying employers who intentionally disregarded the law and ensuring that employees are protected from serious hazards. This is a direct result of OSHA targeting its resources on those employers who have the highest injury and illness rates and on those industries where employees are more likely to be injured or killed on the job.
The Bottom Line
OSHA's enforcement efforts remain strong, fair, and effective, targeting the most hazardous workplaces and the employers who have the highest injury and illness rates. OSHA continues to focus on the bottom line: reducing workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.