Workers’ Rights

Published — June 7, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

IMPACT: OSHA pares inspection goals

OSHA

Introduction

Two weeks after a Center for Public Integrity story highlighted concerns about alleged quotas imposed on federal workplace safety inspectors, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has pared its inspection goal for the year.

OSHA had established a target of 42,250 inspections nationwide for fiscal year 2012, which ends Sept. 30. An OSHA spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the new goal is 41,000 inspections.

The revision was made primarily because the agency has been conducting “more complex, time consuming” inspections this year, the spokesman wrote in an email.

OSHA told the Center it sets goals, not quotas. But some former agency managers said that inspectors who fail to “make their numbers” face repercussions from their bosses.

On May 21, the Center published a story about a 2009 explosion at a U.S. Steel plant near Pittsburgh that killed Nick Revetta, a 32-year-old contract laborer. The OSHA inspector who led the accident investigation complained that he was unable to do a thorough job because of de facto quotas imposed by his supervisors. U.S. Steel, which has denied wrongdoing, was not cited in the case.

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