9/11 Aftermath: Fewer OSHA Inspections?

Feb. 19, 2002
OSHA inspects approximately 1,000 fewer workplaces in the last three months of 2001\r\nthan it did during the same three-month period in the previous year.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspected approximately 1,000 fewer workplaces in the last three months of 2001 compared to the same three-month period in the previous year.

There was otherwise little change in the total number of inspections and in the standards most frequently cited when 2001 is compared to 2000 (see chart). Once again, Hazard Communication, 1910.1200(e)(1) was the most frequently cited OSHA standard.

The decline in inspections during the final three months of 2001 was not altogether unexpected. OSHA sent compliance officers (COs) from around the country to assist in the rescue and recovery effort after the terrorist attacks on New York City (NYC). It seemed plausible that with so many COs pulled out of their normal routine, total inspections ought to decline during the extraordinary quarter.

In fact there were actually 300 more federal inspections during the period. State plan states accounted for the decline in the numbers, with the bulk of the drop coming from states in Region Five. But it does not appear that assisting NYC had much effect on inspection activity in these states.

In Michigan there were 503 fewer inspections in the final quarter of calendar year 2001 when compared to the previous year, and the state sent no one to NYC during the period.

A spokesperson for the state of Minnesota, another state plan state in the region, also said that a decline in the number of inspectors, plus a strike, accounted for the drop in inspection numbers.

"We''ve had more turnover among our inspectors," explained Kalmin Smith, deputy director of Michigan''s Dept. of Consumer and Industry Services. Smith said he had not been aware of the steep fall-off in Michigan''s inspections until asked by OH. "We''re going to do a closer review on that now," he added.

by James Nash

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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