OSHA Narrows General Industry Categories Eligible for Focused Inspection Program

May 16, 2008
by BRENDA HUSTIS GOTANDA
Client Alert Newsletter May 2008

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration ("OSHA") has withdrawn the Focused Inspection program directive released earlier this year (see the related article in our Forecast 2008 Client Alert), which included seven general industry categories, and replaced it with a new directive, which includes only three of the seven general industry categories. Pursuant to the directive, entitled General Industry Focused Inspections in OSHA's FY 2008 Annual Operating Plan’s Industry Areas of Emphasis, the three industries eligible for the focused inspection program include landscaping and horticultural services, oil and gas field services, and logging. If the qualifying criteria set forth in the directive are met (e.g., injury and illness rates that are lower than the national average for its industry), then a programmed comprehensive inspection (such as under a national or local emphasis program) may be converted into a more limited focused inspection, which would narrow the scope of the inspection to primarily address the most prevalent hazards in that particular industry. OSHA uses the focused inspection protocols in order to improve efficiency of the inspection process by spending less time at establishments performing better than average, and more time at establishments that have not performed as well.