OSHA Records 73 Percent of Cited Violations Last Year as 'Serious'

ACCORDING to its recently updated OSHA Facts Web site, in Fiscal Year 2006 there were 38,579 federal OSHA inspections, resulting in 83,913 violations. Of those violations, 73.1 percent (61,337) were classified as Serious, which are violations in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and for which the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

Construction accounted for the highest amount of federal OSHA inspections (59.3 percent), followed by manufacturing (19.9 percent) and maritime (1 percent). "Other industries" accounted for 19.7 percent of the inspections.

The statistics also provide insight into state plan OSHA activities. There were 58,058 state job safety and health plan inspections in FY 2006, resulting in 127,284 violations. Out of these violations, 45.3 percent were classified as Serious. (The largest category for state plan violations, at 52.2 percent, was Other or Other-than-serious, which are violations that have a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.)

Why is OSHA conducting inspections? According to the statistics, high hazard targeting efforts were the primary reason for inspections in both state and federal OSHA. Complaints led to 19.1 percent of federal OSHA inspections and 23 percent of state OSHA inspections.

For more OSHA statistics, visit http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/oshafacts.html. The agency offers interactive eTools (http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/oshasoft/index.html) and other compliance assistance to help employers and employees address specific hazards and prevent injuries. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/compliance_assistance/index.html.

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