OSHA announced Friday its inspection targeting program for 2001 aimed at workplaces that have reported high injury and illness rates.
Under the 2001 Site Specific Targeting Program (SST01), OSHA inspectors may conduct limited "focused" inspections of targeted sites if the workplaces are participating in an OSHA partnership program.
The agency also clarified its plan to treat the U.S. Postal Service as a private sector employer.
"Our 2001 SST program continues to focus our inspection resources on the companies where we know workers are experiencing high rates of injury and illness," said Acting OSHA head R. Davis Layne. "SST01 follows the common sense approach that Labor Secretary Elaine Chao has adopted for enforcement of worker protection laws."
For employers participating in an OSHA strategic partnership, SST inspections may be deferred for up to six months after a partnership agreement is signed.
Sites that have undergone a verification inspection since Jan. 1, 1999, as part of their participation in a strategic partnership may be deleted from the inspection list so long as the verification inspection addressed all of the most serious hazards at their sites.
Further, OSHA may decide to conduct a focused inspection, limited to hazards targeted by the partnership agreement, rather than the comprehensive inspection that other SST sites will receive.
Amendments to the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1998 placed the U.S. Postal Service under OSHA jurisdiction.
The SST01 includes postal worksites in the inspection targeting system on the same basis as private sector sites.
Each year, OSHA collects injury and illness data from about 80,000 employers.
Sites are chosen for inspection under the revised SST based on injury and illness reports provided during last year''s survey, which collected 1999 data.
This targeting program does not cover construction worksites.
The instructions to OSHA field offices cover inspections to be conducted during the next four months. OSHA intends to offer updated guidance for the next inspection cycle early this fall.
by Virginia Sutcliffe