OSHA has announced it is targeting for inspections federal agency workplaces staffed by federal employees or by contractors whose work is supervised on a day-to-day basis by federal agency personnel. The agency initiative will focus enforcement resources on those worksites experiencing a high number of lost time injury cases. Employers who work as contractors to federal agencies should review the targeting program and prepare for a possible inspection – particularly if they have employees performing hazardous work.

The new inspection targeting program – “FEDTARG 09” effective June 16, 2009 – directs inspections at federal agency establishments that experienced large numbers of lost time injuries in fiscal year 2009, as reported by the federal Office of Workers Compensation Programs. OSHA regional offices are directed to develop a primary inspection list that will include 100% of the establishments within the region reporting 100 or more lost time cases, 50% of the establishments reporting 50-99 lost time cases, and 10% of the establishments reporting 20-49 lost time cases. All sites on the primary inspection list must be inspected.

Contractors who are supervised by federal workers should take note of this and prepare. Inspections conducted under FEDTARG 09 will be comprehensive safety inspections. The inspections also will cover ergonomics, with compliance officers instructed to consult with the region’s ergonomics coordinator on musculoskeletal disorder issues.

Should the OSHA compliance officer see contractors performing work that is not being supervised by a federal agency worker, the officer may open up another inspection relating to the contractor specifically, if the compliance officer observes any hazards. In short, contractors performing work on federal agency worksites are fair game under FEDTARG 09.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor Jordan Barab, in announcing the program, stated, “OSHA’s mission of protecting worker safety doesn’t begin and end with private industry.” That is true. In this instance, however, it does not begin and end with federal employees either. FEDTARG 09 targets both federal agencies and private employers, and both need to be prepared.