In a speech recently before the Small Business Administration’s safety and health forum in Washington, DC, Richard E. Fairfax, OSHA’s Director of Enforcement and Construction Programs, provided an update on the agency’s key enforcement initiatives. Of particular note, Mr. Fairfax stated:

  • OSHA will be issuing another update to its Field Operations Manual (FOM) in November 2009. The FOM guides OSHA’s compliance officers in the conduct of their inspections.


  • OSHA’s Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP) is being revised to focus on fatalities, serious hazards and hazards identified in OSHA’s National Emphasis Programs, and to mandate follow-up inspections.


  • The following NEPs are now in the works: food flavorings; primary metals; hexavalent chromium; and recordkeeping.

OSHA also has issued two important new enforcement documents. The Site Specific Targeting Program (SST) for 2009, “is OSHA’s main programmed inspection plan for non-construction workplaces that have 40 or more employees.” To compile the SST, OSHA surveyed 80,000 large employers in historically high-rate industries, requiring them to report their injury and illness rates. Employers in manufacturing who reported a particularly high “Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) Rate” (over 8.0) or “Days Away from Work Injury and Illness (DAFWII) Case Rate” (over 6.0) should expect an SST inspection within the next year. Non-manufacturing employers who reported a DART Rate over 15.0 or DAFWII Rate over 13.0 also should expect an inspection under the SST. Nursing and personal care facilities are treated separately under the SST and will be subject to an inspection if they reported a DART Rate over 17.0 or a DAFWII Rate over 14.0.

OSHA also reissued its petroleum refinery NEP. This continues OSHA’s focus on enforcing its process safety management (PSM) standard in refineries. Employers in NAICS code 324110 should review their PSM programs in anticipation of an OSHA inspection of their facilities.