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OSHA’s Revision of Its Weighting System

Effective October 1, 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) revised its weighting system, moving from the Enforcement Weighting System (“EWS”) to the new OSHA Weighting System (“OWS”).

OSHA utilizes a weighting system to evaluate the allocation of its resources in order to maximize its enforcement activities and potential impact on critical areas. In 2015, OSHA implemented the EWS and utilized enforcement units (“EUs”) to classify inspections based on the required level of complexity. Under the EWS, OSHA allotted EUs depending on the time taken to complete the inspections and impact on workplace safety.

Under the new system, OSHA tracks additional factors including essential enforcement support functions and compliance assistance activities. These additional factors allow OSHA to recognize how these activities contribute to OSHA’s mission and further maximize the impact of its resources.

The new OWS categorizes types of inspections into five different groups. The following groups are ordered from highest to lowest priority inspections:

  1. Group A: The most time intensive, complex, and high-priority inspections. (e.g., criminal cases and significant cases)
  2. Group B: Inspections for high-priority hazards and those that are more complex than average and/or are of high lasting value. (e.g., fatalities and catastrophes)
  3. Group C: Programmed inspections following an established emphasis program for hazards that are among the leading causes of death in the workplace. (e.g., caught-in, electrical, fall, and struck-by hazards)
  4. Group D: Programmed inspections following an established emphasis program for priority hazards that are somewhat time intensive and a high priority. (e.g., amputation hazards, combustible dust, federal agency inspections, heat hazards, and site-specific targeting)
  5. Group E: All other inspections not otherwise listed

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.