OSHA Enforcement Priority Weighting System Revised

How does OSHA decide to inspect shops?

Prior to this latest change, OSHA followed its Enforcement Weighting System (EWS).

Late in 2019 OSHA revised its inspection priority weighting system.

OSHA LOGO

OSHA has identified two objectives for this revision to the Enforcement Weighting System
(EWS), now known as the OSHA Weighting System (OWS)
To continue to develop and support a management system to focus enforcement activities
on critical and strategic areas where the Agency’s efforts can have the most impact and
• To further promote the appropriate allocation of resources to support OSHA’s balanced
approach to promoting safe and healthy workplaces.

Here is the new Enforcement Priority Weighting Scheme

Enforcement Units

Enforcement cases will be assigned the following weight:

  1.  Group A: Includes the most time intensive, complex, and high-priority inspections. 7 EUs
    a. Criminal cases
    b. Significant cases
  2.  Group B: Includes inspections for high-priority hazards and those that are more complex
    than average and/or are of high lasting value. 5 EUs
    a. Inspections following fatalities and catastrophes
    b. Chemical plant NEP and Process Safety Management (PSM) Inspections
  3.  Group C: Includes programmed inspections following an established emphasis program
    (EP) for hazards that are among the leading causes of death in the workplace.3 EUs
    a. Caught-in hazards—e.g., trenching, equipment operations, oil & gas
    b. Electrical hazards—e.g., overhead power lines, electrical wiring methods
    c. Fall Hazards—e.g. scaffolds, elevated walking working surfaces
    d. Struck-by hazards—e.g., highway work zones, landscaping, material handling
  4.  Group D: Includes programmed inspections following an established EP for priority
    hazards that are somewhat time intensive and are a high priority. This category also
    includes inspections for novel hazards and programmed inspections undertaken in
    conjunction with an established enforcement policy addressing associated serious safety
    and health hazards. 2 EUs
    a. Amputation hazards
    b. Combustible dust
    c. Ergonomics
    d. Federal agency inspections
    e. Heat hazards
    f. Non-PEL overexposures
    g. Workplace violence hazards
    h. Permit required confined space hazards—e.g., grain storage or maritime or
    construction
    i. Personal sampling—e.g., air contaminants or noise
    j. Site specific targeting
  5.  Group E: Includes all other inspections not otherwise listed. 1 EU
  6.  Regions may submit other regional or local emphasis programs for approval and
    weighting if they are not already covered under items 1-4 and assign them two to three
    EUs.
  7. Link to OSHA White Paper on OWS

We urge all shops to look at this for guidance in prioritizing their risk evaluation and remediation and training programs to minimize the chances of these OSHA Priority Hazards occurring in their shops.

 

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