OSHA is beginning to use its electronic recordkeeping system to target inspections for employers. The agency launched a new initiative last week to focus enforcement resources on workplaces with a history of injuries and illnesses, but have not provided required data under its electronic recordkeeping rules.

Announcing its Site-Specific Targeting 2016 (SST-16) Program, OSHA is focusing programmed inspections on general industry worksites. The program does not apply to the construction industry or to workplaces with fewer than twenty employees.

Employers who failed to provide 2016 Form 300A data to OSHA will be selected at random. OSHA will combine these employers with other employers with high DART (Days Away, Restricted or Transferred) rates. To verify data accuracy, OSHA will include a random sample of low-rate establishments for quality control purposes. OSHA will use these data to create new programmed inspection lists for use by its Area Directors and State Plan states that operate their own occupational safety and health plans.

OSHA hopes the move will boost electronic recordkeeping compliance, as barely half of employers who are required to submit OSHA Form 300A have actually done so. OSHA’s focus on particular employers will not replace its focus on particular hazards. The agency will continue with its nine current National Emphasis Programs focusing on lead, shipbreaking, trenching/excavations, process safety management, hazardous machinery, hexavalent chromium, primary metal industries and combustible dust, as well as its one hundred or so Regional and Local Emphasis Programs in place today.

What does this mean for industry? Manufacturers, energy and utility companies, trucking and transportation companies and other employers engaged in nonconstruction activities should make sure they are getting those 300A Forms filed by the deadline each year. Employers who have not should prepare to electronically submit their 2018 Form 300A by March 2, 2019, and prepare for a comprehensive OSHA inspection, without notice, especially if they have a history of injuries and illnesses.

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