Inspection weighting has been around since 2015. Prior to that, OSHA would use numbers of inspections completed to count activity. This led to some inspectors loading up on shorter inspections in order to gain quantity while not giving as much credit to those who were doing the long, complex inspections. So, in 2015, a weighting system based on time of completion was developed. However, OSHA found that this was not as ideal as needed either.
The new system factors in agency priorities, inspection impact, and the most hazardous workplaces and operations. Each category of inspection is assigned a numerical value. The most time intensive, complex and high priority inspections gain the most points.
The following is the new points system, from highest value inspection to least value inspection. The points are listed in terms of Enforcement Units, or EUs.
1. Group A: High-Priority, Time-Intense, Complex Cases [7 EUs]
- Criminal Cases
- Significant Cases
2. Group B: High-Priority Hazards, More Complex Than Average [5 EUs]
- Fatalities and Catastrophes
- Chemical Plant National Emphasis Program Inspections
- Process Safety Management Inspections
3. Group C: Focus Four Emphasis Program [3 EUs]
- Caught-In Hazards (trenching, equipment operations, oil & gas)
- Electrical Hazards (overhead power lines, electrical wiring methods)
- Fall Hazards (scaffolds, elevated walking and working surfaces)
- Struck-By Hazards (highway work zones, material handling, landscaping)
4. Group D: Programmed and National Emphasis Program Inspections [2 EUs]
- Amputation Hazards
- Combustible Dust
- Federal Agency Inspections
- Heat Hazards
- Non-PEL Overexposures
- Workplace Violence
- Permit Required Confined Space Hazards
- Personal Occupational Exposure Sampling
- Site-Specific Targeting
5. Other Regional/Local Emphasis Programs Not Already Covered (2-3 EUs)
6. Group E: All Other Inspections Not Listed (1 EU)
Phone/fax/email investigations (e.g., complaints) and rapid response investigations earn “activity points.” Each one of these earn 1 activity unit for every 9 completed, so the equivalent of 1/9 EU. Additional enforcement support activities such as responses to Freedom of Information Act requests, electronic correspondence responses, state plan monitoring and interventions have not gotten units assigned yet.
OSHA has weighted their compliance assistance activities as well. This is the hierarchy from most important to least: 1. Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) evaluations, 2. OSHA Strategic Partnerships activities, 3. OSHA Alliances activities, and 4. Compliance Assistance activities such as making presentations and staffing informational booths.
Please note, that OSHA can and will still add on any program area to an inspection if they are already at your facility for another issue.