oversight

Occupational Safety & Health: Inspectors' Opinions on Improving OSHA Effectiveness

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-11-14.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

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                                                        OCCUPATIONAL
                                                        SAFETY & HEALTH
                                                        Inspectors’ Opinions
                                                        on Improving 0SH.A
                                                        Effectiveness


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      United States
GAO   General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20648

      Human Resources Division

      B-235194

      November 14,199O

      The Honorable Joseph Gaydos
      Chairman, Subcommittee on Health and Safety
      Committee on Education and Labor
      House of Representatives

      The Honorable Paul Henry
      Ranking Minority Member
      Subcommittee on Health and Safety
      Committee on Education and Labor
      House of Representatives

      At your request, to identify ways in which worker safety and health
      might be improved in this country, we conducted a broad review of
      Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) activities and
      issued a report.’ This fact sheet supplements the information contained
      in that report with more detail from a questionnaire that we sent to OSHA
      inspectors (for convenience, when we refer to compliance officers and
      supervisors jointly, we call them “inspectors”). We believe the responses
      provide a valuable perspective concerning the day-to-day operations of
      the OSHAprogram as it is being enforced. Nevertheless, inspectors pro-
      vide just one part of the total picture about occupational safety and
      health in the workplace. Their opinions need to be considered with the
      views of others-such as employers, workers, and other federal and
      state OSHAstaff-in formulating any new occupational safety and
      health strategy.2

      In May 1989, we mailed copies of the questionnaire to all field supervi-
      sors and a randomly selected sample of one-third of the compliance
      officers. We designed the questionnaire to gather inspector opinions
      about OSHA’S approach to improving workplace safety and health. The
      major topics addressed in the survey were (1) enforcement, (2) safety
      and health standards, (3) education and training, (4) employer involve-
      ment, and (6) worker involvement.

      Except for the brief background material presented at the beginning of
      each section, we report the opinions and experiences of inspectors. On

      10ccupatio~kl Safety and Health: Options for Improving Safety and Health in the Workplace (GAO/
      HRDQO-t%BR,Aug.24,
                     1990).
      21n21 states and 2 territories, the states have developed and operate their own safety and health
      programs with OSHA approval. OSHA may fund up to 60 percent of the cost of operating these
      programs. Inspectors in these states and territories were not sent the questionnaire.



      Page 1                             GAO/IUUMl-9FFi     Occupational   Safety   & Health   Improvement
                         B-236194




                         the basis of answers from the 336 survey respondents, we estimate-
                         with an accuracy of plus or minus 7 percent or less-the opinions of
                         inspectors doing or supervising inspections in fiscal year 1988 (see app.
                         I). The results that we present reflect the combined responses of all
                         inspectors, except for those questions for which we observed significant
                         differences between respondent groups. For example, when compliance
                         officers and supervisors gave very different responses to the same ques-
                         tion, these differences are noted. In addition, we provide some specific
                         examples of statements from survey respondents, which are meant to
                         illustrate typical remarks, not necessarily to reflect the consensus of
                         respondents.


                         In 1970, the Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Background               The act has the goal of “assuring, so far as possible, for every working
                         man and woman in the nation safe and healthful working conditions.”
                         The act gives the Department of Labor the responsibility for carrying
                         out most of its provisions. Subsequently, the Secretary of Labor estab-
                         lished OSHAto administer the act.

                         OSHAsets mandatory safety and health standards, rules, and regulations;
                         inspects private sector worksites through its 10 regional and 79 area
                         offices in 29 states, the District of Columbia, and some U.S. territories;
                         and assesses penalties and prescribes abatement duties for employers
                         found violating the standards or failing to meet their “general duty” to
                         provide a safe and healthful workplace. In addition, OSHAprovides occu-
                         pational safety and health education to workers and employers.



Inspectors’ Opinions

OSHA Enforcement         Of the inspectors, about 40 percent think that OSHA'Senforcement pro-
                         gram is effective; 19 percent think that it is ineffective; and 41 percent
                         did not characterize it as either effective or ineffective. The following
                         are four particularly significant findings concerning inspector opinions
                         on enforcement:

                       . About 96 percent of the inspectors think that the inspection force needs
                         to be increased in order for OSHAto carry out its enforcement
                         responsibilities.



                         Page 2                    GAO/HID-91.9F’S   Occupational   Saf’ety & Health   Improvement
                             E28mJ4




                         l About 76 percent of the inspectors think that the civil fines allowed in
                           the act, at the time of our survey, are inadequate to serve as a deterrent
                           to safety and health violations.
                         . About 80 percent of the inspectors think that increased use of criminal
                           sanctions would have a “great” or “very great” effect on reducing
                           violations.
                         . There is a lack of consensus about the effectiveness of OSHA'Spolicies for
                           targeting the most hazardous worksites for safety and health
                           inspections.


Safety and Health            At the time of survey completion, inspectors identified over 75 safety
                             and health hazards that were unregulated, but should have been. Gener-
Standards                    ally, safety inspectors believe that more safety hazards are specifically
                             covered by standards than health inspectors believe health hazards are.

                             According to the inspectors, health standards are more difficult for
                             employers to understand than safety stand-
                             ards. About half of the health inspectors think that health standards
                             are “difficult” or “very difficult” for employers to understand.

                             To speed the promulgation of standards and to give employers more
                             flexibility in how they correct hazards, OSHAbegan issuing (1) standards
                             that cover multiple hazards (generic standards) and (2) standards that
                             specify the desired outcome, but not the steps that must be taken to
                             reach that outcome (performance-based standards). However, most
                             inspectors do not think that these types of standards can, by them-
                             selves, replace standards that address specific individual substances or
                             specify the way hazards should be avoided.


Education and Training       Concerning workplace health and safety regulations as well as hazards,
Efforts                      most inspectors reported that lack of knowledge contributes greatly to
                             work-related injuries and illnesses. They think that the amount of
                             employer knowledge is moderate overall, with workers having less
                             knowledge than employers. Inspectors also believe that OSHA’Sefforts to
                             increase knowledge about workplace safety and health are moderately
                             effective for employers and somewhat less effective for workers.


Employer and korker          Most inspectors think that current levels of employer and worker
                             involvement in safety and health activities are too low. Inspectors think
Involvement                  that employers should be required to develop and implement workplace


                             Page 8                    GAO/HlUHl-9FS   Occupational   Safety   % Health   Improvement
                  E295194




                  safety and health programs, thereby improving safety and health in the
                  workplace; in addition, workers should be more involved in the enforce-
                  ment program by more often requesting inspections, accompanying
                  inspectors on inspections, and participating in settlement discussions.

                  Sections 1 through 5 of this fact sheet present the survey results in more
                  detail, organized by the topics covered in the questionnaire: enforce-
                  ment, safety and health standards, education and training, employer
                  involvement in safety and health programs, and worker involvement.
                  Appendix I contains our survey objectives, scope, and methodology,
                  including our questionnaire procedures and sampling methods.
                  Appendix II is a brief profile of the inspectors who responded to our
                  survey. Appendix III presents the actual survey questions and the tally
                  of responses for each.


                  We briefed OSHAofficials on the survey results and obtained their oral
Agency Comments   comments on the draft report. On the basis of their comments, we made
                  changes to the report as appropriate. In subsequent correspondence (see
                  app. IV), however, the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and
                  Health stressed his belief that some of the opinions represented in the
                  report reflect “an institutional state of mind which may have changed
                  over the past year” as a result of “significant changes in OSHA'S
                  operations.”

                  We agree with the Assistant Secretary that OSHAhas made changes that
                  may have affected inspectors’ overall assessment of the program’s
                  effectiveness. For example, OSHAhas increased its inspector work force
                  and appears to be recommending civil and criminal penalties more
                  aggressively. Nevertheless, most of the operations that concerned
                  inspectors remain unchanged, including the following: (1) OSHAis still
                  using the same data for targeting safety and health inspections that
                  inspectors believed to be inadequate; (2) criminal sanctions still can be
                  used only when the employer’s violation of an OSHAregulation results in
                  the death of a worker; (3) in cases of imminent danger, inspectors still
                  cannot shut down an employer’s operations without first obtaining a
                  court order; and (4) safety and health programs are still not required in
                  general industry. In our report, we note the instances where a specific
                  policy or program change took place between the time of our survey and
                  report issuance.




                  Page 4                   GAO/HRB91-9FY3   Occupational   Saf’ety & Health   Improvement
B435194




We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Labor and other
interested parties. Should you have any questions or wish to discuss the
information provided, please call me at (202) 2751793. Other major
contributors to this fact sheet are listed in appendix IV.

                   L
SW
Franklin Frazier
Director, Education
  and Employment Issues




Page 5                   GAO/HRD914WS   Occupational   Safety % Health Improvement
Contints



Section 1                                                                                                          10
Enforcement                 Background                                                                             10
                            Aspects Covered by Questions                                                           10
                            Enforcement Overview                                                                   10
                            Inspection Targeting                                                                   13
                            Complaints                                                                             16
                            Civil Penalties                                                                        18
                            Criminal Prosecutions                                                                  20
                            Abatement                                                                              22
                            Imminent Danger                                                                        23

Section 2                                                                                                          25
Safety and Health           Background                                                                             25
                            Aspects Covered by Questions                                                           25
Standards                   Hazard Coverage                                                                        25
                            Types of Standards                                                                     26
                            Improvements Needed in Standard Setting                                                28

Section 3                                                                                                          30
Education and               Background
                            Aspects Covered by Questions
                                                                                                                   30
                                                                                                                   30
Training                    Knowledge of Workplace Hazards, Legislation,                                           30
                                 Regulations, and Standards
                            Effect of Lack of Knowledge                                                            34
                            Perceived Effectiveness of OSHA Education and Training                                 35
                                 Programs
                            Problems With Education and Training Programs                                          35

Section 4                                                                                                          37
Employer Involvement Background                                                                                    37
                     Aspects Covered by Questions                                                                  37
in Safety and Health Effectiveness of Safety and Health           Programs                                         37
Programs
Section 5                                                                                                          40
Worker Involvement          Background                                                                             40
                            Aspects Covered by Questions                                                           40
           Y                Level of Involvement                                                                   40
                            Worker Protection Against Employer Discrimination                                      41




                            Page 6                  GAO/I-JRD-9ldFs   Occupational   Safety   8 Health   Improvement
                       Contents




Appendixes             Appendix   I: Objective, Scope, and Methodology                                     44
                       Appendix   II: Respondent Profile                                                   47
                       Appendix   III: Summary of Questionnaire Responses                                  49
                       Appendix   IV: Comments From the Department of Labor                                74
                       Appendix   V: Major Contributors to This Fact Sheet                                 76
                                                                                                          -
Related GAO Products                                                                                       80
                                                                                                          -
Tables                 Table 1.1: Respondents’ Comments on Best Data for                                      16
                           Targeting Safety and Health Inspections
                       Table 1,2: Respondents’ Comments on Information                                        16
                           Currently Unavailable That Would Help Locate
                           Sources of Safety and Health Problems During
                           Inspections
                       Table 3.1: Employer and Worker Knowledge of the Act,                               31
                           Regulations, and Standards, by Size of Employer
                       Table 3.2: Contribution of Lack of Knowledge by                                    34
                           Employer and Worker to Safety and Health
                           Violations and Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
                       Table 3.3: Effectiveness of Education and Training                                 35
                           Programs
                       Table 5.1: Needed Change to Worker Involvement in                                  41
                           OSHA Enforcement Activities
                       Table I. 1: Total Inspectors and Total Sampled by Group                            46
                       Table 1.2: Respondents Doing (or Supervising) Inspections                          46
                           by Sampled Group
                       Table 1.3: Calculation of the Universe to Which                                    46
                           Questionnaire Results Can Be Projected: Respondent
                           Universe Doing (or Supervising) Inspections
                       Table II. 1: Total Inspectors and Respondent Universe by                           47
                           Sampled Groups
                       Table 11.2:Comparison of Universe and Respondent                                   47
                           Percentages by Federal Region
                       Table 11.3:Highest Education Degree Obtained by                                    48
                           Inspectors
                       Table 11.4:Median Length of Service and Time Doing                                 48
                           Inspections for Inspectors Who Did (or Supervised)
                           Inspections (Fiscal Year 1988)

Figures                Figure 1.1: OSHA’s Overall Effectiveness                                           11



                       Page 7                   GAO/HRD91-9F’S   Occupational   Safety & He&h   Improvement
Contents




Figure 1.2: Effect of the Possibility of an OSHA Inspection                             -ii
     on Employer Safety and Health Activities
Figure 1.3: Changes in Number of OSHA Compliance                                         13
     Officers Recommended by Inspectors
Figure 1.4: Effectiveness of Inspection Targeting for                                    14
     Safety and Health Inspections
Figure 1.6: Appropriateness of Using Letters as a                                        17
     Response to Some Complaints
Figure 1.6: Proposed Changes in Maximum Civil Penalties                                  19
Figure 1.7: Suggested Use of the Instance-by-Instance                                    20
     Approach
Figure 1.8: Expected Effect of More Frequent Use of                                      21
     Criminal Sanctions on Reducing Violations
Figure 1.Q: Inspectors’ Opinions About Whether They                                      24
     Should Have Shutdown Authority in Cases of
     Imminent Danger
Figure 2.1: Effectiveness of Specification-Based Safety                                  27
     Standards Compared With Performance-Based
     Standards
Figure 2.2: Need for Individual Substance Standards With                                 28
     Generic Health Standards
Figure 3.1: Employer and Worker Knowledge of the Act,                                    31
     Regulations, and Standards
Figure 3.2: Employer and Worker Knowledge of the Act,                                    32
     Regulations, and Standards in Worksites With or
     Without a Safety or Health Plan
Figure 3.3: Employer and Worker Knowledge of the Act,                                    33
     Regulations, and Standards in Worksites With or
     Without Worker Representation
Figure 3.4: Employer and Worker Knowledge of Safety                                      34
     Versus Health Hazards
Figure 4.1: Expected Improvement in Safety and Health                                    38
     in General Industry if Safety and Health Programs
     Were Required
Figure 4.2: Improvement in Safety and Health in                                          39
     Construction Industry as a Result of Requirement for
     Safety and Health Programs




Page 8                    GAO/IiRD91-9F‘S   Occupational   Safety   & Health   Improvement
Continta




Abbreviations

BIS        Bureau of Labor Statistics
LWDI       lost workday injury
OSHAct     Occupational Safety and Health Act
OSHA       Occupational Safety and Health Administration


Page 9                    GAO/HRD91-9F’S   Occupational   Safety   Br Health   Improvement
                                                                                                                   ,
Section 1

Ehforcement


                          In fiscal year 1989, OSHAdevoted two out of every three program dollars
Background                to enforcement activities, including doing worksite inspections; citing
                          employers for violations of OSHA regulations and standards; and deter-
                          mining, through follow-up inspections or employer verification, whether
                          employers “abate” (eliminate or lessen) hazardous conditions.

                          At the time of our survey, OSHAemployed about 1,100 inspectors to
                          enforce health and safety standards for over 3.6 million employers in
                          the United States.’ Of the inspection force, compliance officers make up
                          about 86 percent and supervisors, the remaining 14 percent.


                          For the survey questions related to OSHAenforcement activities, we
Aspects Covered by        focused on seven aspects: overall effectiveness, inspection targeting,
Questions                 complaints, civil penalties, criminal prosecutions, abatement, and immi-
                          nent danger. We compared the inspector responses to these questions by
                          groups: safety officers, health officers, safety supervisors, and health
                          supervisors. Unless noted, the responses made by the individual groups
                          did not differ significantly. The individual comments included in this
                          report are meant to illustrate typical remarks, not necessarily to reflect
                          the general consensus of the respondents.



Enforcement
Overview

Lack of Consensuson       About 40 percent of the inspectors indicated that OSHA'Soverall enforce-
Effectiveness of OSHA’s   ment strategy is effective in ensuring safe and healthful workplaces (see
                          fig. 1.1). A similar percentage of inspectors believe the strategy is effec-
Enforcement Program       tive in ensuring compliance with safety and health standards. However,
                          another 40 percent of the inspectors did not characterize OSHA'Senforce-
                          ment strategy as either “effective” or “ineffective.“2 Safety supervisors
                          were more supportive of the current enforcement strategy than other
                          respondent groups. Of the safety supervisors, 61 percent believe that



                          ‘State-operated programs have enforcement responsibility for an additional 2.3 million employers
                          with about 34 million workers.

                          21nspectorsmay be more supportive of OSHA’s enforcement program, aa of October 1990, given
                          OSHA’s more aggressive pursuing of civil and criminal penalties in fiscal year 1990.



                          Page 10                           GAO/HRD91-9Fs       Occupational   safety   8r Health Improvement
                                           lhction      1
                                           Enfo~ment




                                           the strategy is “effective” or “very effective,” compared with 41 per-
                                           cent of the safety officers, 33 percent of the health officers, and 34 per-
                                           cent of the health supervisors.


Figure 1.1: OSHA’e Overall Effectiveness
                                           so        Peroelltof Mel raepofleee


                                           40
                                                -I


                                           30



                                           20


                                           10



                                            0




                                            Enaurlng safe and healthful workdt~~




Possibility of Inspection                  We asked inspectors whether the possibility of an OSHAinspection has
                                           any effect on what employers do to ensure safe and healthful work-
Has an Effect on What                      places. Nearly all of them (94 percent) believe that it has some effect;
Employers Do                               about 30 percent believe that the possibility of an inspection has a
                                           “great” or “very great” effect on what employers do (see fig. 1.2).




                                           Page 11                               GAO/HRD-91-9FS   Occupational   Safety   & Health   Improvement
                                                                                                                                        ,

                                              Section 1
                                              Enforcement




Flgure 1.2: Effect of the Poorlblllty of an
OSHA Ifwpectlon on Employer Safety
                                              60   Pamontdtotalmponaoa
and Health Actlvltles


                                              40


                                                                     r

                                              Effect on omployrn




OSHA Needs More                               Inspectors believe that the present number of compliance officers (about
                                              800 doing inspections) is not enough to carry out OSHA’Senforcement
Compliance Officers                           responsibilities; 96 percent believe that WXA needs to increase its inspec-
                                              tion force (see fig. 1.3)s Some inspectors commented that they are able
                                              to do few inspections other than complaint inspections.




                                              3Specifically, 60 percent think that OSHA should “greatly increase” the current number of compli-
                                              ance officers; 36 percent think that OSHA should “increase” the number of compliance officers. In
                                              fiscal year IQQO,OSHA increased its inspection force by 189 compliance officers over the level at the
                                              time of our questionnaire survey.



                                              Page 12                            GAO/HRD91-9P3       Occupational   Safety   & Health   Improvement
                                        section 1
                                        Enforcement




Figure 1.3: Change6 in Number of OSHA
Compllsnce Officers Recommended by
                                        Pueenl of tad mponrs
tnspectors
                                        100




                                          Recommended change




One-Fourth of the                       Unannounced workplace inspections are a key component of an effec-
Inspectors Believe That                 tive enforcement strategy. The act stresses the importance of this com-
                                        ponent by providing criminal penalties for anyone who gives advance
Employers Get Advance                   notice of an inspection. Still, about one-fourth of the inspectors believe
Notice of Inspections                   employers sometimes know beforehand about targeted inspections.


                                        Since OSHAis unable to inspect every workplace, the agency sets priori-
Inspection Targeting                    ties for inspections. OSHAuses several data bases to identify high hazard
                                        industries. For manufacturing industries, OSHA obtains data from the
                                        Bureau of Labor Statistics about industries with above-average lost
                                        workday injury (LWDI) rates,4 providing area offices with a list of work-
                                        sites in these industries. For the construction industry, OSHAobtains a
                                        listing of local construction sites. For health, OSHAuses its inspection
                                        data to identify industries with a substantial number of past serious
                                        health violations.

                                        4LWDI is a workplace injury or illness resulting in an employee’s beii    absent from work, assigned to
                                        restricted work activity, or both for 1 or more days.



                                        Page 13                             GAO/HI&D-91-9FS     Occupational     Safety fh Health Improvement
                                                                                                                                I




                                        Section 1
                                        Enforcement




                                        We asked inspectors about OSHA’Ssafety and health targeting policies
                                        and the data needed to identify hazardous worksites.


Lack of Consensuson                     A little over one-third of the inspectors did not characterize policies for
                                        targeting the most hazardous worksites for health and safety inspec-
Effectiveness of OSHA’s                 tions as either “effective” or “ineffective” (see fig. 1.4). However, 34
Targeting Policies                      percent of the inspectors think that safety targeting policies are effec-
                                        tive, compared with 24 percent who think that health targeting policies
                                        are effectiveS


Flgure 1.4: Effectbmers of lnepectlon
Targeting for Safety and Health
lnrpectionr                             50 Perant of wal raponer


                                        40




                                         Efhotlvonm   of trrgotlng


                                             I        Safety lnspedons
                                                      Health Inspections




                                        6We summarized only safety inspector comments about safety targeting and only health inspector
                                        comments about health targeting.



                                        Page 14                            GAO/HlUMU-QFS    Occupational   safety   & Health   Imprwement
                            Section 1
                            Enforcement




                            About half of the respondents (170) provided written comments con-
                            cerning OSHA’Stargeting system.6 Most frequently, respondent comments
                            were like these:

                        l   06~~does few programmed inspections because resources are inade-
                          quate to do both programmed inspections and complaint inspections (37
                          respondents).
                        l OSHA’S inspection targeting procedures result in the same companies
                          being inspected year after year. Some inspectors expressed their con-
                          cern that hazardous worksites were not being inspected because they
                          were (1) too far down on the inspection list or (2) not on the list at all
                          (25 respondents).7
                        . OSHA’S method for targeting construction sites for inspection could be
                          improved. In December 1988, OSHA contracted with the University of
                          Tennessee to provide computer-generated inspection lists to the area
                          offices. Some of the inspectors think that these lists often provide sites
                          that are inactive and leave out others (23 respondents).


Information Needed to       We asked safety and health inspectors two questions: (1) What informa-
                            tion best identifies the worksites that should be inspected? (2) What
Target Enforcement          data are currently unavailable, but would help locate the sources of
                            problems at a worksite? Of the 241 inspectors who responded, only
                            about 20 percent identified the data currently used by OSHA to target
                            inspections in their specialty (safety or health) as the best data to use.
                            Respondents identified data about an individual company’s injuries, ill-
                            nesses, worksite processes, and chemical use as better data to target
                            inspections (see table 1.1).




                            gWe use the term “respondent” to refer to comments made by the specific inspectors who responded
                            to our questionnaire. In contrast, we use the term “inspector” when we estimate the opinions of all
                            inspectors. (See app. I.>
                            ‘In July 1989, OSHA changed its targeting procedures in ways that reduce the likelihood of work-
                            sites’ being inspected year after year. However, worksites that are not in a high-hazard industry are
                            rarely inspected, unless OSHA receives a complaint.



                            Page 16                            GAO/HRD-Ql-QFS      Occupational   Safety 8~ Hedth   Improvement
                                         &ctlon 1
                                         Enforcement




Table 1.1: Respondents’ Comment8 on
Bert Data for Targeting Safety and       Safety                                                                                  Respondents
Health inspections                       Individual company’s injuries, including their severity                                                51
                                         k%zy           used by OSHA                                                                            41
                                         Workers’ compensation claims or insurance claims                                                       23
                                         Company’s or industry’s manufacturing processes and working
                                           conditions
                                         ~--__                                                                                                  22
                                         Health
                                         Company’s or industry’s processes and chemical use                                                     42
                                         Data currently used by OSHA                                                                             9
                                         Information from workers or their representatives                                                       9
                                         Workers’ compensation claims or insurance claims                                                        7
                                         Note: Comments about safety data were made by safety inspectors. Similarly, health comments were
                                         made by health inspectors.


                                         Of the data currently unavailable to them, respondents most often cited
                                         workers’ compensation and insurance claims as information that would
                                         be helpful in locating sources of safety and health problems during
                                         inspections (see table 1.2).

Table I .2: Respondents’ Comments on
information Currently Unavailable That   Safety                                                                                  Respondents
Would Help Locate Sources of Safety      Workers’ compensation and insurance claims                                                             25
and Health Problems During inspection8
                                         More information from workers and their reoresentatives                                                15
                                         Health
                                         Eompany’s or industry’s processes or chemical use                                                      21
                                         Training and resource materials, such as technical manuals                                             14
                                         Workers’ combensation and insurance claims                                                             12
                                         Referrals from the medical community                                                                    6
                                         Note: Comments about safety data were made by safety inspectors. Similarly, health comments were
                                         made by health inspectors.



                                         Unless a complaint alleges an imminent danger of serious physical harm
Complaints                               or death, OSHA'Spolicy requires an inspection only if the complaint
                                         meets all of the following criteria: (1) written, (2) signed by a current
                                         employee or employee representative, and (3) describes the condition,
                                         practice, or particular violation that is hazardous. If a complaint meets
                                         all three criteria, OSHAconducts an inspection. If one or more of the cri-
                                         teria are unmet and imminent danger is not alleged, OSHAhandles a com-
                                         plaint about safety or health hazards by sending a letter to the employer
                                         asking for information about the alleged hazard.




                                         Page 10                           GAO/HRDQl-QFY3     Occupational   Safety   & Health    Improvement
                                       Section 1
                                       Enforcement




Policy of Responding to                Of the inspectors, 63 percent agreed with OSHA’S policy of responding to
SomeComplaints With a                  some complaints with a letter instead of an inspection (see fig. 1.6).8
                                       Supervisors favor the policy more than compliance officers; health
Letter Is Appropriate                  inspectors, more than safety inspectors.@Comments from some health
                                       supervisors show that they need to stretch limited staff resources; this
                                       policy helps them to do so.


Figure 1.5: Appropriateness of Ublng
Letters as a Response to Some
                                       70   Poroentof total responeu
Complaints




                                       Level of approprlatonosa


                                       Of the inspectors, 37 percent disagreed with the criteria that OSHA uses
                                       to decide which complaints will receive a letter instead of an inspection.
                                       Of those respondents who disagreed, 72 percent (89) believe that the
                                       local area office should be given more discretion in deciding how to
                                       respond to complaints. For example, OSHA could inspect all alleged


                                       *Of the inspectors, 22 percent think that it is “very appropriate;” 41 percent think that it is
                                       “appropriate.”

                                       OOfall supervisors, 80 percent believe the policy is “appropriate” or “very appropriate,” versus 60
                                       percent of all compliance officers. Of the health inspectcws,70 percent believe that the policy is
                                       “appropriate” or “very appropriate,” versus 68 percent of the safety inspectors.



                                       Page 17                             GAO/HRD-9lBFs        Occupational   Safety 4%Health Improvement
                      sectlon 1
                      Enforcement




                      serious violations, not just those involving imminent danger, whether or
                      not they are written and signed.


                      Inspectors cite violations in various categories: serious, willful, repeat,
Civil Penalties       and other than serious10 At the time of our survey, penalties for viola-
                      tions were up to $1,000 for each serious violation and up to $10,000 for
                      a willful or repeat violation. In addition, a fine of up to $1,000 could be
                      assessed for each day during which an employer fails to abate a hazard
                      after the agreed-on date has passed. OSHA does not have to assess a pen-
                      alty for an “other-than-serious” violation. Proposed penalties may be
                      adjusted on the basis of size of business, good faith of the employer, and
                      employer’s previous history of violations.

                      On October 26, 1996, the Congress passed the Omnibus Budget Reconcil-
                      iation Act of 199@which substantially increased maximum civil penal-
                      ties. The maximum civil penalty for a willful violation was raised to
                      $70,000 for each violation. All other types of penalties were raised to a
                      maximum of $7,000 for each violation.


Allowable Monetary    About three-fourths of the inspectors believe that allowable civil penal-
Penalties Should Be   ties should be increased (see fig. 1.6); many of these inspectors believe
                      that allowable penalties should be greatly increased to encourage
Greatly Increased     employers to comply. For example, over half of the inspectors believe
                      the maximum penalty for a willful violation should be at least $26,000.




                      %erious violation: Violation that included a substantial probability that death or serious physical
                      hanncouldWillfu1           violation: Violation that the employer intentionally and knowingly com-
                                                         of any standard, regulation, rule, or order for which, on reinspection,
                                                        is found. Other than serious: Violation that has a direct relationship
                      to job safety and health, but probably could not result in death or serious physical harm.



                      Page 18                              GAO/HRD-91-9FS      Occupational   Safety   & Health   Improvement
                                  Section 1
                                  Enforcement




Flgure 1.8: Propored Changes in
Maximum Civil Penalties
                                  100    Pot-cd ot total rwponur




                                   50
                                   40
                                  so




                                    Change In maximum penalty




Instance-by-Instance              OSHA  sometimes imposes substantially higher penalties by citing
Citations Should Be 1Tsed         employers on an “instance-by-instance” basis. With this approach, OSHA
                                  cites employers who “egregiously” violate OSHA standards for every
More Often                        instance of a standard violation, rather than citing only one penalty for
                                  a certain type of violation.11 Under this policy, the total assessed fine for
                                  a violation can be substantially larger than the maximum “per instance”
                                  fine of $10,000. However, OSHA has used this approach sparingly-
                                  about 100 times between April 1986 and July 1990.

                                  Inspectors generally favor OSHA’S policy of citing each instance of a vio-
                                  lation separately, instead of combining instances under one violation; 6 1
                                  percent believe that the instance-by-instance approach should be used
                                  more oft,en (see fig. 1.7). One of the reasons inspectors favor greater use
                                  of the policy may be its effect on employers, other than the employer
                                  cited: 46 percent of the inspectors believe that the instance-by-instance
                                  approach has had a “great” or “very great effect” on other employers’
                                  compliance with OSHA requirements.

                                  “OSHA began using the instance-by-instance approach in 1986, Since that time, OSHA has proposed
                                  penalties ranging from $126,000 to $7.6 million.



                                  Page 19                          GAO/HItD91-9F’S   Occupational   Safety   & Health Improvement
                                       Section 1
                                       Enforcement




Figure 1.I: Suggested Use of the
Instance-by-lnrtance Approach
                                       70 Fafomtottotatmpon8#

                                       50


                                       50
                                            r
                                       40


                                       30


                                       20


                                       10


                                        0            -h
                                                     L          L
                                            Mom        same         Lea.
                                            8ugpmtut      use




Civil Penalties Other Than             In addition to the fines OSHAnow levies, some inspectors suggested other
Fines Could Be Used                    penalties, including the following:

                                   l give OSHAauthority to shut down operations if an inspector finds a
                                     serious violation, even when the violation does not pose an imminent
                                     danger, until the employer abates the violation (29 comments);
                                   . revoke or refuse government contracts and other government moneys
                                     for chronic violators (2 1 comments);
                                   . make inspection results public (9 comments);
                                   l require mandatory training for managers or workers (9 comments); and
                                   . remove protection against employee lawsuits or increase employer lia-
                                     bility through workers’ compensation or Social Security (8 comments).


                                       Besides civil penalties, employers may be subject to criminal prosecution
Criminal Prosecutions                  in certain cases. Criminal sanctions may be applied to an employer who
                                       willfully violates OSHAregulations and the violation results in the death
                                       of a worker, anyone who knowingly provides false information to OSHA,
                  Y                    and anyone who gives advance notice of an inspection. The maximum
                                       criminal penalty is $10,000 or imprisonment for 6 months or both. But



                                       Page 20                             GAO/HRD2143Fs   Occupational   Safety   8 Health   Improvement
                                        Section 1
                                        Enionzement




                                        for giving notice of an inspection, there is a maximum penalty of $1,000
                                        or imprisonment for 6 months or both.


Greater Use of Criminal                 About 80 percent of the inspectors believe that greater use of criminal
Sanctions Would Greatly                 sanctions for safety and health violations would greatly reduce viola-
                                        tions (see fig. 1.8). Moreover, the inspectors believe the effect would
ReduceViolations                        take place if any level of government (federal, state, or local) used these
                                        sanctions.


Figure 1.8: Expected Effect of More
Frequent Use of Crlmlnal Sanctions on   50   Percent of tha responsoa
Reducing Violation8




                                        Expectad affect




Legislative and                         Respondents provided many comments about legislative and administra-
Administrative Changes                  tive changes that they think would allow the federal government to use
                                        criminal sanctions effectively. Of the 194 respondents who commented,
Recommendedfor Criminal                 66 think that OSHAshould apply criminal sanctions in more cases. These
Penalties                               inspectors would like to see criminal penalties for violations that
                    Y




                                        Page 2 1                        GAO/HRD91-9FY3   Ckcupational   Safety 8t Health Improvement
            Section1
            IWorcetnent




            (1) lead to serious but nonfatal injuries to employees, (2) are willful or
            repeat violations, or (3) both.12

            Of the respondents, 60 think that OSHA,the Department of Labor, or the
            Department of Justice, or all of them are too reluctant to pursue crim-
            inal cases. The criteria for when a prosecution should be pursued,
            respondents commented, are not clearly defined, which makes it diffi-
            cult for them to decide when they should refer a case for criminal prose-
            cution; in addition, some respondents said, the inspection process is not
            designed to gather the necessary evidence to pursue criminal cases.
            Thus, preparing a case for criminal prosecution is difficult and time-
            consuming.


            OSHAarea directors are responsible for determining if employers have
Abatement   abated violations. These directors verify abatement either by a follow-
            up inspection or through a letter from the employer stating that the
            cited conditions have been corrected. This letter is supposed to explain
            the specific corrective actions taken for each violation and the approxi-
            mate date for each action. Failure to submit a verification letter by the
            deadline set for abatement may trigger a follow-up inspection. In addi-
            tion, follow-up inspections are required for certain violations. Of the
            inspections that OSHAdid in fiscal year 1989,6 percent (3,284) were
            follow-up inspections.

            Seventy percent of the respondents (237) provided comments about
            changes needed to improve OSHA’Sabatement confirmation procedures.
            By far, the major change recommended (176 comments) was for DSHAto
            do more follow-up inspections. Inspector comments about the need for
            follow-up inspections included these:

            “A number of follow-up inspections were programmed during FY’ 88 when abate-
            ment was apparently achieved, as indicated by telephone calls or letters. Most of
            these inspections uncovered failure to abate situations.”

            “Visiting a site to determine abatement shows employer/employee that OSHAis
            truly concern[ed] about conditions rather than what may appear in letter form.”

            “During FY ‘88, virtually 100%of the follow-up inspections I scheduled resulted in
            failure to abate penalties.” [The employer had not corrected the hazards.]



            lzTheactprovide criminalsanctions for violationsonly when they lead to fatalities.


            Page 22                           GAO/HID-91.BFf4    Occupational   Safety 8 Health   Improvement
                            Section 1
                            Enforcement




                            Imminent danger is defined in the legislation as “any conditions or prac-
Imminent Danger             tices in any place of employment which are such that a danger exists
                            which could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical
                            harm immediately or before the immine&e of such danger can be elimi-
                            nated through the enforcement procedures otherwise provided.” OSHA
                            gives the highest inspection priority to allegations of imminent dangers
                            and tries to schedule inspections of them for the same day that it
                            receives the report. When it is not possible to schedule the inspection for
                            the same day, OSHAschedules the inspection for the employer’s next
                            working day.

                            The act restricts OSHA’Sability to obtain immediate abatement of immi-
                            nent dangers by requiring OSHAto first obtain a court order. Under OSHA
                            procedures, OSHArequests that the employer abate the danger. If the
                            employer does not provide reasonable assurance that he or she has
                            abated the danger, the inspector consults with the area director, who
                            then decides whether to contact the regional solicitor about initiating
                            court action. The inspector posts a Notice of Alleged Imminent Danger
                            after he or she receives approval from the area director. The notice is
                            not a citation, but only a notice that (1) OSHAbelieves that an imminent
                            danger exists and (2) the Secretary of Labor will be seeking a court
                            order to restrain the employer from permitting employees to work in the
                            vicinity of the danger.

                            If a court issues an injunction in an imminent danger case, 06~~ does a
                            follow-up inspection to see if the employer is complying with the terms
                            of the court order. Inspectors do not have the authority to order shut-
                            down of the operation or to direct employees to leave the vicinity of the
                            imminent danger.


Inspectors Want Authority   Of the inspectors, 63 percent strongly believe that they should be
to Immediately Remedy       allowed to shut down operations in cases of imminent danger without
                            having to obtain a court order first (see fig, 1.9). Some inspector com-
Casesof Imminent Danger     ments reflected a belief that the process of obtaining a court order in an
                            imminent danger case is very slow and does not provide an effective
                            remedy for exposed workers, for example:

                            “It is important that the [inspector] have the authority to stop work in an imminent
                            danger situation. The time required to get a court order exposesemployees to the
                            hazards for extended periods of time, which is unacceptable. In that, someonemay
                            die or be exposed to level of materials which may cause long term damage.”




                            Page 22                      GAO/IiIUMl-OF’S   Occupational   dbiety   8 Health Improvement
                                         sect10n1
                                         Eniorcement




Figure 1.9: In8pectors’ Opinions About
Whether They Should Have Shutdown
Authority in Cases of Imminent Danger    70 Poreonloftom roaponua




                                           d 4
                                         1$
                                         Lwol ol rgroomont


                                         We estimate that compliance officers found about 2,130 instances where
                                         they believe it was necessary to remove workers because of imminent
                                         danger cases in fiscal year 1988.13Of these compliance officers, we esti-
                                         mate that 10 percent believe workers were, on average, exposed to
                                         imminent danger for over 8 hours. Generally, inspectors believe they are
                                         adequately prepared to identify cases of imminent danger. Still, about
                                         one-fourth believe they were inadequately prepared by OSHA(Training
                                         Institute or field training) to identify such cases.




                                         13This is an estimate-based on the reports of compliance officers we surveyed-of the imminent
                                         danger cases found by all OSHA compliance officers doing inspections. The sampling error of this
                                         estimate is plus or minus 976.



                                         Page24                            GAO/HUD91-9FS
                                                                                       Occupational          Safety % Health Improvement
Section 2

Safety and Health Standards


                     Enforcing safety and health standards is a major part of OSHA’S regula-
Background           tory strategy. However, OSHAstandards fail to cover many safety and
                     health hazards adequately and fail to keep pace with knowledge about
                     new or existing hazards. In cases where a hazard exists and the hazard
                     is not covered by a standard, OSHA can cite the general duty clause.
                     Under this clause, employers have a general duty to provide a work-
                     place that is free from recognized hazards that cause or are likely to
                     cause serious physical harm or death to employees.


                     For the survey questions related to safety and health standards, we
Aspects Covered by   focused on three aspects: whether hazards are adequately covered by
Questions            standards; whether standards are difficult for employers to understand;
                     and what types of standards (that is, specific substance, generic, specifi-
                     cation, and performance standards) are more effective.


                     When asked to identify the most important hazards that are not covered
HSazardCoverage      by specific standards, respondents identified over 75. At least half of
                     the inspectors identified 2 hazards: “lockout or tagout” and “confined
                     space entry.” A lockout or tagout standard would require the employer
                     to establish procedures to prevent anyone from accidently energizing or
                     activating a machine, particularly while it is being serviced. A confined
                     space entry standard would require an effective means of exit from con-
                     fined work spaces.’

                     Over half of the health inspectors listed repetitive motion hazards as
                     hazards that should be covered by standards. Such standards would
                     include the principle of ergonomic design; that is, the machine should fit
                     the worker, instead of forcing the worker to fit the machine.2 Carpal
                     tunnel syndrome, a progressively disabling and painful condition of the
                     hands, is the most widely recognized example of a repetitive motion
                     trauma resulting from lack of ergonomic design. The syndrome is caused
                     by repeatedly flexing the wrist or applying arm-wrist-finger force.




                     ‘A lockout or tagout standard was issued in September 1989.0!3HA is rewriting a confined space
                     standard and it expects to issue a final rule in February 1991I
                     2Ergonomics is the science of designing facilities, equipment, tools, and tasks that are compatible with
                     the anatomical, physiological, biomechanical, perceptual, and behavioral characteristics of humans.



                     Page 25                             GAO/HRD-Ill-9PS     Occupational   Safety EhHealth Improvement
                       Section 2
                       Wety and Health   Stan-




Use of General Duty    Inspectors can cite the general duty clause for hazardous conditions not
Clause in Absence of   covered by an osn~ standard when four conditions exist: the employer
                       falls to keep the workplace free of a hazard; it is a recognized hazard;
Specific Standards     the hazard causes or is likely to cause serious physical harm or death;
                       and the hazard is correctable by a “feasible and useful method.”

                       About three-fourths of the inspectors cited the general duty clause at
                       least once in fiscal year 1988. In fact, 18 percent of the safety inspectors
                       and 29 percent of the health inspectors used the general duty clause for
                       at least 10 percent of the hazards that they identified. However, many
                       inspectors (66 percent) noted situations in which they believed a hazard
                       existed, but they could not cite the employer because neither a specific
                       standard nor the general duty clause could be cited.


                       During the 198Os, OSHAbegan using more performance standards. Per-
Types of Standards     formance standards give employers more flexibility in complying with
                       standards by allowing employers to consider available technologies and
                       to select the most appropriate one. These standards differ from specifi-
                       cation standards, which require employers to meet fixed specifications.
                       For example, a specification standard might specify that a ladder (1) be
                       made from a specific wood, (2) have no more than 12 inches between
                       rungs, and (3) be no more than 24 inches wide; a performance standard
                       might require that the ladder be able to support, for several hours, a
                       person who weighs 280 pounds.

                       Also during the 198Os, in an attempt to speed up the issuance of stand-
                       ards, OSHAbegan using generic standards as well as specific standards. A
                       generic standard may cover (1) multiple problems in a single industry or
                       (2) work practices and procedures affecting many industries. For
                       example, the hazard communication standard is considered to be a
                       generic standard. It requires employers to notify their workers about all
                       chemical hazards and to provide worker training. A generic standard
                       could be either a specification standard or a performance standard,
                       depending on its level of specificity.

                       Inspectors are skeptical of the effectiveness of performance-based
                       standards; 62 percent think that specification-based standards are
                       “more effective” or “much more effective” than performance-based
                       standards (see fig. 2.1). Of the inspectors, 46 percent think that the need
                       for individual substance standards will either “increase” or “greatly
                       increase,” despite the greater use of generic health standards (see fig.
                       2.2).


                       Page 26                   GAO/IUD-Bl-9lW   Occupational   Safety 8~ Health Improvement
                                       Section 2
                                       Safety and Health SM




Figure 2.1: EffectIvenear of
Specification-Baaed Safety Standard@
Compared With Performance-Bared        110 PUmntottotdmpon#
Standard8

                                       40



                                       so


                                                       r

                                       Effrctlvonosa   of rpoclflcatlon-bawd   l fety   standards




                                       Page 27                                 GAO/EIRDSl-@I%       Occupntional   Safety & Heakh   Improvement
                                   Section 2
                                   Safety and Health Standarda




Flgure 2.2: Need for lndlvldual
Subrtance Standards Wlth Qenerlc   60 Psroontof tot81roaponau
Health Standards


                                   40



                                   80
                                                                r
                                   20



                                   10



                                    0                                     -I?
                                        II                                A         L
                                             Much      Qrsatr    About      Loss        Much
                                             groator             tha                    Ion
                                                                 8ame
                                             Nrd   for lndivldual substance standards



                                   In addition to the survey questions, 162 respondents (48 percent) pro-
Improvements Needed                vided a total of 237 narrative comments about safety and health stand-
in Standard Setting                ards. Many of these comments (3 1 percent) stress the importance of
                                   standards in increasing OSHAenforcement power. Other comments,
                                   examples of which appear below, fell into three categories: improve the
                                   standard-setting process (64 comments); make standards simpler to
                                   understand and enforce (67 comments); and revise and update stan-
                                   dards (42 comments).


Improve Process                    “Promulgation [standard setting] must be based upon safety and health issues
                                   rather than economic feasibility.”

                                   “Updated standards by. , , recognized organizations should be automatically incor-
                                   porated by reference into OSHAstandards.”




                                   Page 20                                  GAO/HRD-91-W’S     Occupational   Safety   fb Health Improvement
                     section 2
                     Safety and Health Standarda




Simplify Standards   “Standards leave too much for interpretation. Too many employers, employees and
                     compliance personnel are left guessing as to what they judge to be, or assumeto be,
                     correct and complying with the standard.”

                     “Standards should not be issued unless there is a compliance directive attached to
                     address enforcement policy.”


Revise Standards     “Standards need to be updated to keep up with current industry standards . . . .
                     Need to revise health standards more frequently (more than once in 18 years).”

                     “There should be a program to regularly review them [standards] and update them.”




                     Page 29                       GAO/HRDBl-BFS   Occupational   Safety   & Hea.lth Improvement
Section 3

l3ducation and Training


                     In fiscal year 1989, OSHA spent about $30.9 million (12 percent of its
Background           total budget) on directly funded education and training activities. OSHA’S
                     education and training programs include the Employer Consultation
                     Program, the OSHA Training Institute, and the New Directions grant pro-
                     gram. The Employer Consultation Program, which receives the bulk of
                     OSHA’S education and training funds, provides workplace consultation
                     visits at the request of employers. The OSHA Training Institute mostly
                     provides training to OSHAinspectors, but also allows private sector and
                     other government employees to attend courses related to workplace
                     safety and health. The New Directions program makes grants available
                     to nonprofit labor and employer organizations that wish to provide job
                     safety and health training to their members.

                     In addition to these directly funded activities, OSHA has more than 100
                     standards and guidelines that mandate or recommend minimum levels of
                     training for particular categories of workers.


                     For the questions related to OSHA education and training activities, we
Aspects Covered by   focused on three aspects: whether employers and workers are knowl-
Questions            edgeable about workplace hazards and the legislation, regulations, and
                     standards; whether the lack of knowledge of workers or employers
                     results in injuries and illnesses or violations of OSHA standards; and
                     whether present OSHAprograms are effective in educating and training
                     workers and employers.


                     We asked inspectors about t levels of employer and worker knowledge
Knowledge of         about (1) health and safety hP ards and (2) the legislation-Occupa-
Workplace Hazards,   tional Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), regulations, and standards.
Legislation,         Because of the volume of information that we obtained, we will present
                     inspector opinions of the levels of employer and worker knowledge
Regulations, and     about the legislation, regulations, and standards, but not about health
Standards            and safety hazards.’ For ease of presentation, we also generally com-
                     bined responses about the knowledge of employers and workers.


Employers More       Of all the inspectors, 66 percent think that employers have at least a
Knowledgeable Than   “moderate” level of knowledge about the legislation, regulations, and
                     standards, whereas only 39 percent of the inspectors think that workers
Workers    w         have the same level of knowledge (see fig. 3.1).

                     ‘Their opinions about knowledge of safety and health hazard showed the same problems.



                     Page 30                          GAO/HRD91-9PS Occupational Safety 81Health Improvement
                                         Section 8
                                         Education aud Training




Figure 3.1: Employer and Worker
Knowledge of the Act, Regulations, and
Standards                                70 Pamanlof total raapona#

                                         00

                                         60

                                         40

                                         30


                                         20




                                              Vary groaf           Groat            Modrrato                  Some                  Lffflo or no
                                              Lavol of knowlodge


                                              El       Employers
                                                       Workers




Level of Knowledge Higher                Overall, inspectors think that the levels of employer and worker knowl-
in Large BusinessesThan                  edge of legislation, regulations, and standards are higher for large-sized
                                         employers than for small-sized or medium-sized employers.2 Of the
in Small Businesses                       inspectors, 82 percent think that workers and employers of large-sized
                                         employers have at least a “moderate” level of knowledge, in contrast to
                                         just 67 percent for medium-sized employers and 17 percent for small-
                                         sized employers (see table 3.1).

Table 3.1: Employer and Worker
Knowledge of the Act, Regulations, and   Numbers in percentages
Standards, by Size of Employer           -~-
                                                                                    Inspectors’ opinions on knowledge
                                         Size of Employer                  Very Great Great Moderate        Some      Little or no
                                         99 or fewer workers                         0          2              15         43                       40
                                         100 to 500 workers                          2         14              41         35                        7
                                         Over 500 workers                           12         32              38         16                        2




                                         2We define “large” aa an employer with over 600 workers, “medium” as an employer with 100 to 600
                                         workers, and “small” aa an employer with less than 100 Yorkers.



                                         Page 31                           G-4O/HRLb91-9Fs     Occupational     Safety   8 Health   Improvement
                                           Section a
                                           Education and Training




Level of Knowledge Higher                   According to inspectors, the levels of employer and worker knowledge
in Worksites With Safety                    of the legislation, regulations, and standards are higher in worksites
                                            with safety and health plans. Of the inspectors, 67 percent think that
or Health Plans                             employers and workers in worksites with safety and health plans have
                                            at least a “moderate” level of knowledge of these issues, in contrast to
                                           just 16 percent for worksites without safety and health plans (see fig.
                                           3.2).


Figure 3.2: Employer and Worker
Knowledge of the Act, Regulations, and     Poroonf of rooponow for both omploym       and worlwa
Standards in Workslter With or Without a   (lo
Safety or Health Plan


                                           40



                                           30



                                           20




                                            0
                                           ‘OLA
                                                   Very graat              Great             Moderafe                  Some                 Lfttlo or no
                                                   Level of knowladga


                                                  I         Plan present
                                                           No plan




Level of Knowledge Higher                  Of the inspectors, 61 percent think that workers and employers in work-
in Worksites With Worker                   sites with worker representation have at least a “moderate” level of
                                           knowledge of legislation, regulations, and standards (see fig. 3.3). In
Representation                             contrast, only 15 percent think that workers and employers in worksites
                                           without worker representation have the same level of knowledge.




                                           Page 32                                 GAO/HfUb91-9FS       Occupational    Safety   & Health   Improvement
                                         Section 8
                                         Education and Training




Figure 3.3: Employer and Worker
Knowledge of the Act, Regulations, and
Standards in Worksiter With or Without   60    Pormtt of rosponom for both    rmployon and workon
Worker Representation

                                         40



                                         SO



                                         20




                                          0
                                         “PI
                                               Wry greet             meat                Modereta                  Some                Utla or no
                                               l.ovol of knowledgr


                                               L-J      With worker representation
                                                        Wlthout worker representation




Employers and Workers                    Inspectors think that both workers and employers are somewhat more
More Knowledgeable                       knowledgeable about safety hazards than about health hazards (see fig.
                                         3.4).
About Safety Hazards




                                         Page 58                               GAO/HItB91-9FS       Occupational     Safety & Health   Improvement
                                         Section 9
                                         Education and Training




Figure 3.4: Employer and Worker
K6owiedge of Sa&#ty Versus Health
                                         50    Poroanl of raponsa   for both l mployom and workom
Hazard8




                                         30


                                         20




                                               Vary great           mat                                        Some                Littk or no
                                               Lovol of knowlodgo


                                               1        Safely hazards
                                                        Health hazards




                                         Most inspectors think that the lack of knowledge of legislation, regula-
Effect of Lack of                        tions, and standards among both employers and workers contributes to
Knowledge                                a “great” or “very great” extent to workplace injuries and illnesses, as
                                         well as health and safety violations. This opinion was most noted con-
                                         cerning the extent of health violations. Lack of knowledge contributes to
                                         health violations to a “great” or “very great” extent, according to 65
                                         percent of inspectors (see table 3.2).
Table 3.2: Contribution of Lack of
Knowledge by Employer and Worker to      Numbers in percentages
Safety and Health Vlolations and Work-                                                 inspectors’ opinions on contribution
                                         Violations, injuries, and
Related injurlecl and Illnesses          illnesses                             Very great Great Moderate Some               Little or no
                                         Safety violations                              14          43           25        15                    3
                                         Health violations                              23          42           20        13                    2
                                         Work-related injuries                          12          38           30-       16                    4
                                         Work-related illnesses
                                         ---                                            17          41           24-       15                    4




                                         Page 84                             GAO/HRD91-9F8      Occupational     Safety   & Health Improvement
                                        section   3
                                        Exhcation and Training




                                        There was no clear consensus about the effectiveness of OSHA’Seduca-
Perceived                               tion and training programs in educating and training workers and
Effectiveness of OSHA                   employers about workplace safety and health issues. Inspectors think
Education and                           that there are differences in the effectiveness of the three major pro-
                                        grams (Employer Consultation, the ~SHATraining Institute, and New
Training Programs                       Directions grant) for educating employers (see table 3.3). In contrast,
                                        the inspectors believe the different programs are about equally effective
                                        for workers. They also believe the Training Institute and Consultation
                                        programs are generally less effective for workers than for employers
                                        (see table 3.4). The Employer Consultation Program received the most
                                        favorable rating for its effectiveness with employers. This may be
                                        because the program more directly serves employers rather than
                                        workers.

Table 3.3: Effectivenesr of Education
and Training Program8                   Numbers in percentages
                                                                   Inspectors’ opinions on effectiveness for employers
                                                                                                           Little or Don’t
                                        Program                   Very great Great Moderate Some                  no know
                                        Consultation                      11       34              29    15             7            5
                                        OSHA Trainina Institute           10       25              19    27            14            5
                                        New Directions                     2        8              17    27            24           22
                                                                    Inspectors’ opinions on effectiveness for workers
                                        Consultation                       8       18              19    24            26            6
                                        OSHA Trainina Institute            8       19              13    20            34            6
                                        New Directions                     3        7              16    25            29           21


                                        Overall, the programs have little effect, some respondents said, because
                                        they reach few employers and workers, rather than because of problems
                                        with the programs themselves.


                                        Of the respondents, 69 percent (199) provided a total of 403 narrative
Problems With                           comments about education and training. Most of these comments dealt
Education and                           with three categories of weaknesses, examples of which appear below:
Training Programs                       programs and materials are inadequate to meet the needs of employers
                                        and workers (141 comments); employers or workers or both need more
                                        and better training (100 comments); and programs are underutilized (59
                                        comments).




                                        Page 35                    GAO/HRD91-9FS    Occupational    Safety & Health   Improvement
                         Section 8
                         Education and ‘l-raining




Programs Inadequate      “Education and training provided by OSHAdoes not reach the workplace.”

                         “Fund it or forget it. What we can put into [education and training programs] now
                         will never have much impact.”


Training Needed          “We need much more emphasis in training workers about occupational safety and
                         health hazards. Many of our worker complaints are nonserious or invalid not
                         becausetheir workplaces are safe, but rather becausethey do not recognize the real
                         serious hazards.”

                         “It is especially important to educate both employers and employees on health
                         hazards. They need to understand that sensory perception does not always indicate
                         when a problem exists. Many deadly chemicals cannot be seenor smelled and many
                         chemicals can be smelled long before they create a hazard.”

                         “The majority of employers do not make it their responsibility to educate them-
                         selves regarding S and H [safety and health] issues. They are more concerned with
                         making their business operate profitably.”


Programs Underutilized   “We don’t actively seek out those in need of education and training. We are in a
                         posture of waiting for interested parties to call us.”

                         “The smaller employers cannot afford to send employees to safety classesand must
                         do the training on their own, Sometimesthey request assistance. Other times they
                         are unaware of any available assistance.”




                         Page 38                      GAO/HBD91-9FY3   Ckcupational   Wety   & Health   Improvement
Section 4

Employer Involvement in Safety and
Health Programs

                         The act requires each employer to provide employees with a place of
Background               employment that is free from recognized hazards that cause or are likely
                         to cause death or serious physical harm, One way for an employer to do
                         this is by developing a safety and health program that would identify
                         worksite hazards and actions needed to correct them.

                         OSHA requires safety plans in the construction industry. For other indus-
                         tries, OSHA has issued voluntary guidelines, encouraging employers to
                         establish safety and health programs. CBHA outlines four principal ele-
                         ments in its voluntary guidelines: (1) management commitment and
                         worker involvement, (2) worksite analysis, (3) hazard prevention and
                         control, and (4) safety and health training. @HA’s mandated require-
                         ments for construction include the last three elements.


                         For survey questions related to safety and health programs, we focused
Aspects Covered by       on two aspects: how effective inspectors think the programs are and
Questions                whether the programs should be required.



Effectiveness of
Safety and Health
Programs

Required Safety and      Of the inspectors, about 60 percent believe that requiring safety and
Health Programs Needed   health programs in general industry would “greatly” or “very greatly”
                         improve safety and health in the workplace (see fig. 4.1). Of the inspec-
in General Industry      tors, 63 percent believe that if safety and health programs are required
                         for general industry, no employer groups (for example, small businesses
                         and employers in low-hazard industries) should be exempt. Moreover,
                         inspectors overwhelmingly believed (94 percent) that safety and health
                         programs should be required for employers in high-hazard industries
                         and employers with a history of repeat violations.




                         Page 37                  GAO/HRD91-9FS   Occupational   Safety & Health   Improvement
                                                                                                                                             ,
                                            &&ion   4
                                            Employer Involvement           In Safety   and                                                          c
                                            Health Program6




Figure 4.1: Expected Improvement in
Elrfety and Health In Cbneral lndurtry It   40      Poroant ot total faapolmr
Safety and Health Programs Were
Requlrrd

                                            30




                                            20




                                             0
                                            10 II           L          4




                                             Expected Improvement


                                            Despite their endorsement of safety and health programs, most of the
                                            inspectors believe that required programs in the construction industry
                                            have resulted, at most, in moderately improving safety and health (see
                                            fig. 4.2). This could be because inspectors are concerned that the
                                            requirements for safety and health programs in construction are too
                                            general.




                                            Page 38                                    GAO/HRD-91.9Fs   Occupational   safety   & Health   Improvement
                                          seetton 4
                                          Employer Involvement        in Safety and
                                          Health Programe




Figure   4.2: Improvement In Safety and
Health   In Conrtruction Industry a8 a    40   Par#ntoftotalmponaam
Result   of Requirement for Safety and
Health   Programs

                                          30




                                          20




                                          Improvement
                                                   achlevod

                                          Some inspectors caution, however, against overrelying on safety and
                                          health programs to ensure a safe and healthful work environment. Their
                                          comments included the following:

                                          “There is a tendency to rely on written programs when evaluating a safety and
                                          health program. What we often find in the workplace is that the written program is
                                          put into action poorly if at all. Monitoring is definitely neededto properly assess
                                          workplace hazards.”

                                          “A paper safety and health program will mean nothing without employer commit-
                                          ment. The requirement to have such a program may get a few more employers
                                          thinking [about] and working [on] safety and health programs, however.”




                                          Page 39                              GAO/HRDOl-9PS   Occupational   Safety   % Health Improvement
Seaion6                                                                                                            I

Worker Involvement


                                requires employers t0 pOSt a notice (1) informing employees
Background                OSHA                                                              Of
                          their rights under the OSHAct and (2) giving certain employees data on
                          workplace injuries and illnesses. 0%~ expects workers, at a minimum, to
                          comply with procedures established to protect them.

                          The act provides that workers have the right to (1) inform OSHA when
                          employers are not providing a safe workplace, (2) be represented in
                          OSHA walkaround inspections, including reporting violations to the com-
                          pliance officer during the inspection, and (3) request an inspection when
                          they believe that an imminent danger or a violation of a safety or health
                          standard exists that threatens physical harm.

                          Section 1 l(c) of the act protects workers against discrimination by
                          employers if workers exercise the above rights or any other rights
                          afforded by the act. To carry out its mandate to protect workers against
                          employer reprisals, OSHAoperates a Discrimination Investigations Pro-
                          gram. Through this program, OSHA investigators decide whether to
                          pursue discrimination complaints through the courts.


                          For the questions related to worker involvement, we focused on two
Aspects Covered by        aspects: (1) whether current levels of worker involvement in various
Questions                 areas of OSHA’S enforcement program are adequate and (2) whether the
                          Discrimination Investigations Program is effective in protecting workers
                          from employer reprisals.



Level of Involvement

More Worker Involvement   Generally, inspectors want workers to be more involved in helping them
                          to ensure employer compliance (see table 5.1). However, just 31 percent
Needed in OSHA’s          of the health supervisors think that workers should have “more” or
Enforcement Activities    “much more” involvement in OSHA’Senforcement program by requesting
                          inspections, in contrast to over half the respondents from each of the
                          other groups.1




                          %b-responding percentages for each of the other respondent groups are safety supervisors, 62 per-
                          cent; health officers, 64 percent; and safety officers, 69 percent.



                          Page 40                           GAO/HRD-Sl-9IW     Occupational   Safety & Health Improvement
                                     Section 5
                                     Worker Involvement




fable 5.1: Needed Change to Worker
Involvement in OSHA Enforcement      Numbers in percentages
Activitlea                                                                   Inspectors’ opinions of involvement
                                     Activitv                          Much more More     No change Less         Much less
                                     Requesting inspections                     17      42               38        3                 0
                                     Accompanying OSHA
                                       inwectors                                18      47               34         1                0
                                     Participating in settlement
                                       discussions                              20      49               30        0                 0




                                     In November 1989, GAO testified before the House Committee on Educa-
Worker Protection                    tion and Labor, Subcommittee on Labor Management Relations, about
Against Employer                     inspector opinions on the lack of protection from employer reprisals
Discrimination                       when workers engage in workplace safety and health activities2 The
                                     discussion below highlights some of the major points in that testimony.

                                     About one-third of the inspectors said that few if any workers are
                                     knowledgeable about their rights. Another 46 percent of the inspectors
                                     said that less than half of all workers are knowledgeable about their
                                     rights under the law concerning workplace safety and health activities,
                                     including their right to report violations to OSHA without being fired or
                                     otherwise discriminated against.

                                     Inspectors generally do not believe that workers are free to exercise
                                     their section 1 l(c) rights, such as to talk confidentially with an
                                     inspector. Fewer than 10 percent said that workers definitely could
                                     exercise these rights without reprisal; 22 percent said they definitely
                                     could not. A similar percentage of the inspectors (26 percent) expressed
                                     the belief that 1l(c) procedures provide workers little protection from
                                     reprisal when they report violations to OSHA.Inspectors reported that
                                     workers have even less confidence in protection than the inspectors do.
                                     Almost half (46 percent) said that workers themselves generally believe
                                     they would have little protection if they reported violations.

                                     As discussed in the testimony, inspectors believe several factors related
                                     to the law make it difficult for the agency to protect workers. These
                                     include (1) a requirement that complaints be filed within 30 days of the
                                     discrimination, (2) a requirement that the case be litigated in district
                                     court rather than before an administrative law judge, (3) the lack of


                                     2HowmWellDoes OSHA Protect Workers From Reprisal: Inspector Opinions (GAO/T-HRD-90-8,
                                     fiov.16,1989~


                                     Page 41                         GAO/HRD-91.9Fs   Occupational   Safety   & Health Improvement
Section 5
Worker Involvement




interim remedies while a case is being litigated or settled, and (4) ambi-
guities in the law, such as circumstances under which workers may
refuse to work because they believe they are in danger. Other factors
inspectors cited included (1) the length of case-processing time, (2) the
nature of the investigations, and (3) the difficulty in proving that
employer reprisal has occurred.




Page 42                   GAO/IiItD91-QPS   Occupational   Safety   L Health   Improvement
Page 48   GAO/HRD-91-9FS   Occupational   Safety & Health Improvement
Appendix I

Objective, Scope, and Methodology


                        The objective of this report is to summarize the responses of OSHAsafety
Objective               and health inspectors to a mail questionnaire distributed as part of a
                        review of options for improving worker safety and health.1 OSHAinspec-
                        tors provide considerable insight concerning the daily operations of the
                        OSHA program. Nevertheless, inspectors’ perceptions are based on their
                        experiences and may not always be appropriate for setting or changing
                        OSHA’S policies. For example, inspectors believe that specification stand-
                        ards are more effective than performance standards, even though it is
                        generally recognized by OSHA management that performance standards
                        provide employers more flexibility in meeting a standard’s objectives.
                        OSHA officials told us that inspectors probably believe that specification
                        standards (1) are easier to enforce than performance standards and (2)
                        provide employers greater guidance about how to comply with the
                        standards.



Scopeand
Methodology

Overview                We sent a mail questionnaire to OSHA compliance officers and their
                        supervisors (for convenience, when we refer to compliance officers and
                        supervisors jointly, we call them “inspectors”), who are principally
                        responsible for seeing that private employers comply with OSHA safety
                        and health regulations and standards. For current OSHA compliance
                        officers, we selected a random sample. But we surveyed all current OSHA
                        field supervisors. The compliance officers and supervisors worked in all
                        of OSHA’S 10 regions. We made minor modifications to the questionnaire
                        to reflect differences in compliance officer and supervisor positions and
                        responsibilities. We did our review from April 1989 to May 1990, in
                        accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.


Sampling Approach for   We obtained listings from OSHA identifying all inspecters as of April 12,
Questionnaire            1989. We divided safety and health officers into separate universes and
                        sampled each individually. Within each regional office we selected a
                        random sample of approximately one-third of all safety officers and
                        one-third of all health officers. The universe and sample sizes by type of
                        inspector are shown in table I. 1.

                                  al Safety and Health: Options for Improving Safety and Health in the Workplace
                                  90-66BR, Aug. 24,lQQO).



                        Page 44                         GAO/HRD-91BPS      Occupational   safety   & Health   Improvement
                                       Appendfx I
                                       ObJecthe, Scope, and Methodology




Table 1.1:Total Inspectors and Total
Sampled by Group                       QrouP                                                         Total            Sample          Percent
                                       Sefet; officers                                                552                it34             33.3
                                       Health officers
                                       ~-                                                             415                138              33.3
                                       Swervisors                                                     155                155             100.0
                                       Total                                                         1,122               477              42.5


                                       We mailed copies of the questionnaire to each inspector in our sample
                                       and to all supervisors, and we sent one follow-up mailing to those who
                                       initially did not respond. Of those to whom we sent the questionnaire,
                                       81 percent responded.

                                       For our questionnaire, we were only interested in surveying compliance
                                       officers and supervisors who did or supervised inspections. OSHA’Slist-
                                       ings did not identify employees by occupation; thus, we were not able to
                                       restrict our sample cases to inspection staff only. We therefore used a
                                       screening question in our questionnaire to select respondents who were
                                       either doing or directly supervising inspections, eliminating any other
                                       respondents from our sample. The number and percentage considered
                                       appropriate for our analysis are shown in table 1.2.

Table 1.2: Respondents Dolng (or
Supervlslng) Inspectlons by Sampled                                                                                    Respondents doing
Group                                                                                       Respondents                   inspectlons
                                       Group                                Sample         Number   Percent             Number      Percent
                                       Safety officers-                         104            146           79.3           124           04.9
                                       Health officers                          138            113           81.9            95           84.1
                                       Supervisors                              155            127           81.9           117           92.1
                                       Total                                    477            386           80.9           336           87.0


                                       Questionnaire results are projectable to an estimated universe of compli-
                                        ance officers and supervisors who (1) were doing inspections and (2) we
                                       expect would have responded had we sent the questionnaire to everyone
                                       in our universe. The size of the universe to which results can be pro-
                                       jected, after adjustments both for the response rate and the rate of
                                        respondents doing inspections, is shown in table 1.3.




                                       Page 46                            GAO/HRD-91QlV3     Occupational    safety   & Health   Improvement
                                            AppendixI
                                            Obhctlve,   Scope, and Methodology




Table 1.3:Calculation of the Unlverlro to
Which Quertlonnalre Result8 Can Be                                                                                       Respondents dolng
ProJected: Rerpondent Unlverre Doing                                                                Respondents              Inspections
(or Supewlslng) Innpectlonr                 Qroup                                    Universe     Rate     Universe       Rate       Universe
                                            Safety officers                                 552   ‘19.3            438     84.9              372
                                            Health officers                                 415   81.9             340     84.1              286
                                            Supervisors                                     155   81.9             127     92.1              117
                                            Total                                        1.122                     905                       715


                                            In estimating the number of compliance officers doing inspections, we
                                            projected our questionnaire results without adjusting the universe for
                                            the respondent rate. We assumed that the percentage of nonrespondents
                                            doing inspections was the same as the percentage of respondents-
                                            84.9 percent for safety and 84.1 percent for health. As a result, we esti-
                                            mated that 818 compliance officers were doing inspections (552 x .849 +
                                            416 x ,841). The sampling error is plus or minus 36.

                                            Estimates derived from a statistical sample are subject to a certain
                                            amount of sampling error, which arises from taking a sample rather
                                            than surveying the entire population. Sampling error, also called a preci-
                                            sion of the estimate, is reported as a plus and minus value around the
                                            estimate. The sampling errors for percentages reported did not exceed
                                            plus or minus 7 percent for any estimate with a g&percent confidence
                                            level,


Questions Soliciting                        In the questionnaire, at the end of five sections and throughout the sec-
Narrative Responses                         tion on enforcement, we added questions that allowed the respondents
                                            to elaborate further on issues of concern to them that were not specifi-
                                            cally addressed by the earlier questions. In total, 23 questions asked for
                                            narrative comments and 62 questions provided discrete answer
                                            categories.

                                            For all of the narrative comments that we received, we did individual
                                            tallies for each question. We did this by reviewing the comments under
                                            each question for consistent themes and categorizing the comments by
                                            these themes. Some comments were moved or cross-referenced to other
                                            appropriate questions. Comments that did not apply to the question
                                            asked were removed from our analysis. When we refer to the comments
                                            made by inspectors, we identify the population as “respondents,” not
                                            “inspectors.”




                                            Page 46                              GAO/IUDBl-QF’S   Occupational   Safety & Health   Improvement
Appendix II

Respondent Profile


                                        About 47 percent of the 336 OSHAinspectors we surveyed who provided
                                        data about inspections have the official title of “Safety and Occupa-
                                        tional Health Specialist” (referred to in this report as “safety officer”).
                                        Thirty-six percent are “Industrial Hygienists” (referred to in this report
                                        as “health officer”). Of the inspectors, 16 percent are supervisors of
                                        safety officers (9 percent) or health officers (7 percent). These numbers
                                        are very close to the numbers for the actual universe as shown in table
                                        11.1.

Table 11.1:Total Inspectors and
Respondent Unlverre by Sampled          Numbers in percentages
Qroupo                                  Qrouo                                                                    Universe         Reroondents
                                        Safety   officers                                                                  49                    47
                                        Health   officers                                                                  37                    36
                                        Safety   supervisors                                                                8                     9
                                        Health   sucwvisors                                                                 6                     7
                                        Total                                                                             100                    990
                                        ‘Total excludes investigator (0.4 percent) and other (0.5 percent).

                                        The sample represents all 10 regions in roughly the same proportions as
                                        existed in the universe, as shown in table 11.2.

Table 11.2:Comparlron of Universe and
Rsrpondent Percentage8 by Federal       Numbers in percentages
Reglon                                  Realon                                                                   Universe         Respondentr
                                        1                                                                                  9.4               9.6
                                        2                                                                                 16.1              14.8
                                        3                                                                                 10.4              11.7
                                        4                                                                                 11.1               9.6
                                        5                                                                                 19.6              20.7
                                        6                                                                                 13.3              15.0
                                        7                                                                                  5.2               4.9
                                        8                                                                                  3.7               3.9
                                        9                                                                                  9.3               8.3
                                        IO                                                                                 2.0               1.6
                                        Total                                                                            100.0             100.0


                                        In our sample, which we assume is typical of the universe, all OSHA
                                        inspectors have at least a high school education; about 68 percent have
                                        at least bachelor’s degrees. Almost all health inspectors (98 percent)
                                        have bachelor’s degrees, as opposed to fewer than half (44 percent) of




                                        Page 47                              GAO/HRB91-SF3       Occupational   Safety    8 Health Improvement
                                          Appe*     II
                                          Respondent Profile




                                          the safety inspectors. More health inspectors (42 percent) than safety
                                          inspectors (6 percent) also hold master’s degrees.

Table 11.3:Highest Education Degree
Obtained by inspectors                    Numbers in Dercentaaes
                                                                                               Type of inspector
                                                                                                 Safety                                    Health
                                          Dearee                      Safetv officer         suoervisor       Health officer          SuDervisor
                                          Hiah school                              42                 34                         0                  4
                                          Associate                                15                 13                         0                  2
                                          Bachelor’s                               38                 45                        59                 50
                                          Master’s                                  5                  7                        37                 44
                                          Doctoral                                  0                  0                         4                  0


                                          Among the inspectors who reported that they did inspections in fiscal
                                          year 1988, the median length of time that they reported having done
                                          inspections was 7 years. The median length of time that these inspectors
                                          had been employed with OSHAwas about 10 years.

Table 11.4:Median Length of Servlce and
Time Doing inspections for Inspectors     Numbers in months
Who Did (or Su ervieed) inrpections                                                          Safety                             Health
(Fiscal Year 198tp)
                                                                    Overall     Officers          Supervisors      Officers          Supewisors
                                          With OSHA                     125            131                 180             78                  155
                                          Doing inspections              84             98                 104             52                   80
                                          As swervisor                   40                  a              52                  a               37
                                          aNumbers not applicable


                                          Safety inspectors in our sample had been employed with OSHA longer
                                          than health inspectors. On average, safety officers had been employed
                                          about 4-l/2 years longer than health officers; safety supervisors, about
                                          2 years longer than health supervisors.




                                          Page 48                             GAO/HUD-91-W’S      Occupational   Safety   & Health Improvement
Appendix III

SUmmary of Questionnaire Responses


                   1. Type of degrees/certificates held by the inspector
I. Background
                                                                                                                 Percent of
                   Type                                                                                         inspectors
                   Hiah school dirYoma or eauivalent                                                                     100
                   Associate dearee                                                                                      -19
                   Bachelor’s degree                                                                                      68
                   Master’s degree                                                                                        21
                   Doctoral dearee                                                                                          2
                   State license                                                                                            7
                   Professional certificate                                                                               21
                   Other                                                                                                   10


                   2. Current position title

                                                                                            --
                                                                                                                 Percent of
                   Title                                                                                        inspectors
                   Safety and Occupational Health Specialist                                                               47
                   SuDervisorv Safetv and Occupational Health Specialist                                                    9
                   Industrial Hvaienist                                                                                    36
                   Supervisory Industrial Hygienist                                                                         7
                   Other                                                                                                    1


                   3. Current level


                                                                                                                 Percent of
                   Level                                                                                        inspectors
                   Trainee                                                                                                  3
                   Journeyman                                                                                              78
                   Sulservisor                                                                                             16
                   Other                                                                                                    3
                   Note: Unless otherwise stated, results were weighted based on compliance officer and supervisor
                   responses; totals (where applicable) may not add to 100 percent because of rounding. In addition, per
                   centages shown in appendix Ill will differ with those shown in the report sections if inspectors checked
                   “no basis to judge” or “don’t know.”



               Y




                   Page 49                             GAO/HRD-91-9Fs       Occupational   Safety   % Health Improvement
                        4. Employment history with W-IA


                        Average in months
                                                                                       Compliance
                        Emdovment time                                                     officer         SuDerviror
                        Total with OSHA                                                        108                 164
                        As a journeyman inspector                                               87                  93
                        As a suoervisor                                                        N/A                  59


                        6. Approximate number of inspections performed or supervised in fiscal
                        year 1988

                        72 per compliance officer (average) 368 per supervisor (average)

                        6. Percent of inspections performed or supervised during fiscal year
                        1988 that were health, safety, or both


                        Percent of inspections
                                                                                       Compliance
                        Tvpe of in8pection                                                 officer         Supervisor
                        Safety                                                                   53                    54
                        Health                                                                   38                    37
                        Combined                                                                  9                     9




                        7. and 12. Overall, how easy or difficult is it for employers to under-
II. Safety and Health   stand the OSHAsafety and health standards?
Standards

                                                                                            Percent of inspectors
                                                                                                  Standards
                                                                                               Safety         Health
                        Very easy                                                                      1                1
                        Easv                                                                          25               12
                        About as easy as difficult                                                    47               36
                        Difficult                                                                     22               34
                        Very difficult                                                                 2                7
                        No basis to iudae                                                              3               10




                        Page 50                      GAO/IiRD-91-9lT?   Occupational     Safety % Health Improvement
Appendix   III
Summary of Questionnaire     Reqwnw




8. How would you describe the overall effectiveness of specification-
baaed safety standards versus performance-based standards for
improving workplace safety?


                                                                              Percent of inspectors
Specification-based safety standards...
  Much more effective                                                                                  17
  More effective                                                                                       39
  About as effective as oerformance-based       standards                                              26
  More ineffective                                                                                      7
  Much more ineffective                                                                                 2
  No basis to iudae                                                                                     9


9. and 14. What proportion of serious worksite safety and health
hazards are specifically covered by OSHAsafety and health standards?


                                                         Percent of all inspectors
                                                     Safety hazards              Health hazards
Most or all                                                       59                          34
About half                                                           31                                35
Few or none                                                           1                                 5
No basis to iudae                                                     9                                26


                                                 Percent of safety or health inspectors0
                                                    Safety hazards             Health hazards
Most or all                                                          67                                45
About half                                                           32                                45
Few or none                                                           1                                9
No basis to iudae                                                     0                                1
‘Table summarizes only the responses of safety inspectors on safety hazards and only health inspectors
on health hazards.

10. and 16. Provide up to three, if any, of the most important safety
(health) hazards that should be regulated by specific safety (health)
standards but are not.

Inspectors identified 79 specific hazards not covered.




Page 61                            GAO/HRD-olBJ?S     Occupational   Safety   & Health   Improvement
Appendix   IJI
summary    of Queiltlonnalre   lteaponaaa




 11. and 14. For all of the safety and health hazards observed during
your inspections in fiscal year 1988, approximately what percent fell
into the categories listed below:


                                                     Average percent reported
                                                  Safety hazards           Health hazards
Cited employer using specific
standard                                                        92                              87
Cited employer using general duty
clause                                                           5                              4
Could not cite employer because
neither specific standard nor general
duty clause could be used                                        4                              9

13. With the advent of generic health standards such as the hazard com-
munication standard, what will be the need for individual substance
standards to regulate workplace health?


                                                                                    Percent of
-.                                     -                                           inspectors
Much greater                                                                                    14
Greater                                                                                         27
About the same                                                                                  37
Lesser                                                                                          11
Much lesser                                                                                      1
No basis to iudae                                                                               11


17. What else would you like to say about safety and health standards?

162 respondents provided 237 comments.




Page 52                              GAO/HRDBl-QJ?S
                                                 Occupational   Safety & Health   Improvement
                   Appendix     III
                   summary      of Qlleotionnfilre   Iteeponses




III. Enforcement

Overview           18. and 19. How effective or ineffective is OSHA’Soverall enforcement
                   program in ensuring safe and healthful worksites and compliance with
                   health and safety standards?


                                                                             Percent of inspectors
                                                                       Sate and healthful          Compliance with
                                                                               worksites                 standards
                   Verv effective                                                           5                                 4
                   Effective                                                               35                                34
                   As effective as ineffective                                             41                                42
                   Ineffective                                                             16                                18
                   Verv ineffective                                                         3                                 2


                   20. What effect does the possibility of being inspected by OSHAgenerally
                   have on what employers do to ensure safe and healthful worksites?


                                                                                                                 Percent of
                                                                                                                inspectors
                   Verv areat                                                                                                 7

                   Moderate                                                                                                  40
                   Some                                                                                                      24
                   Little or no                                                                                               6


                   21. Is the current number of compliance officers CBHAhas to carry out
                   its enforcement responsibilities about right, or should the number be
                   increased or decreased?


                                                                                                                 Percent of
                                                                                                                inspectors
                   Greatly increase                                                                                          60
                   Increase                                                                                                  35
                   Stay about the same                                                                                        4
                   Decrease                                                                                                   0
                   Greatly decrease                                                                                           1




                   Page 63                                 GAO/HUD-Bl-SFS   Occupational   Safety   & Health   Improvement
22. How adequately or inadequately has the training provided by OSHA
(Training Institute as well as field training) prepared you to perform
your overall enforcement responsibilities?


                                                                                Percent of
                                                                               inspectors
Verv adeauatelv                                                                             12
Adequately                                                                                  45
Moderately                                                                                  32
Poorlv                                                                                       9
Very inadequately                                                                            2


23, What additional training would you like to receive, if any, to
improve or enhance your ability to perform your duties as an OSHA
inspector?

192 respondents provided 306 comments about additional training
needed.

24. For all the inspections you performed during fiscal year 1988,
approximately how many times, if any, did employers refuse entry,
preventing you from performing your inspections?

On the basis of compliance officer responses, we estimate that in at least
1,092 instances, employers refused entry to CMHAinspectors.

26. How often do you think employers are aware, before the compliance
officer arrives, that a targeted inspection is scheduled?


                                                                                Percent of
                                                                               InsDectors
Always or almost always                                                                      0
Usually                                                                                      1
About half of the time                                                                       4
Sometimes                                                                                   20
Never or almost never                                                                       75


26. What else would you like to say about      OSHA’S     overall enforcement
activities?

2 11 respondents provided 306 comments.


Page 64                   GAO/HlWB1-@F’s   Occupational   safety   & Health   Improvement
                      Appendix   III
                      Snmnuuy    of Questionnaire   Beeponsee




InspectionTargeting   27. and 30. How effective are OSHA’S inspection policies for targeting the
                      most hazardous worksites for safety and health inspections?


                                                                                            Percent of all inspectors
                                                                                                 Safety             Health
                                                                                             inspection        inspection
                      Very effective                                                                    4                     2
                      Effective                                                                        24                    17
                      As effective as ineffective                                                      31                    26
                      Ineffective                                                                      17                    17
                      Very ineffective                                                                  9                     8
                      No basis to judge                                                                15                    31




                                                                                           Percent of safety or health
                                                                                                   inspector8a
                                                                                                 Safety            Health
                                                                                             inspection        inspection
                      Very effective                                                                    6                     3
                      Effective                                                                        28                    19
                      As effective as ineffective                                                      36                    35
                      Ineffective                                                                      18                    25
                      Very ineffective                                                                 IO                    IO
                      No basis to iudae                                                                 2                     8
                      ‘Table summarizes only the responses of safety inspectors on safety inspections and only health
                      inspectors on health inspections.


                      28. and 3 1. What information best identifies the most hazardous work-
                      sites for targeting safety and health inspections?

                      210 respondents identified data for safety inspections. 164 respondents
                      identified data for health inspections.

                      29. When conducting safety inspections, what information, not currently
                      available to you, could help you better locate sources of safety problems
                      at worksites?

                      160 of 336 respondents provided comments. Over half of the safety
                      respondents provided comments.




                      Page 66                            GAO/HlZD-@l-SF9     Occupationd     safety   & Health Improvement
                 Appendix   KU
                 summary    of Questionnaire   RlmponBea




                 32. When conducting health inspections, what information, not cur-
                 rently available to you, could help you better locate sources of health
                 problems at worksites?

                 124 of 336 respondents provided comments. Over 60 percent of the
                 health inspector respondents provided comments.

                 33. What else would you like to say about               OSHA’S     inspection targeting?

                 170 respondents provided comments.


Complaints       34. How appropriate is OSHA’Spolicy of responding to some complaints
                 with letters rather than inspections?


                                                                                                         Percent of
                                                                                                        inspectors
                 VW armromiate                                                                                       22
                 Appropriate                                                                                         41
                 As appropriate as inappropriate                                                                     21
                 Inappropriate                                                                                        9
                 Verv inamromiate                                                                                     6



                 36. Do you agree with OSHA’S criteria as to what kind of complaints will
                 receive letters rather than inspections?


                                                                                                         Percent of
                 -_-                                                                                    inspectors
                 Yes                                                                                                 63
                 No                                                                                                  37




             Y




                 Page 66                            GAO/HRD-Bl-BF%   Occupational   Safety 8z Health   Improvement
                  Appendix       III
                  Snmmary        of Questionnaire   I&8wmt3ea




                  36. and 37. During fiscal year 1988, in your inspections investigating a
                  specific complaint, what proportion revealed serious, willful, or repeat
                  violations?


                                                                          Percent ot inspectors
                                                            When limited to specific          When expanded to
                                                                          complaint comprehensive inspection
                  Much more than in targeted
                    inspections                                                         6                                    7
                  More than in targeted
                    inspections                                                     15                                      25
                  About the same                                                    36                                      43
                  Less than in targeted
                    inspections                                                     21                                       4
                  Much less than in targeted
                  . inspections                                                         8                                    2
                  No basis to iudoe                                                 14                                      19


                  38. What changes, if any, do you believe should be made to improve
                  OSHA’S procedures for responding to complaints?


                  102 respondents identified changes needed.


Civil Penalties   39. What change, if any, is needed in the civil fines allowed by the OSH
                  A&  in order for the penalties to serve as a deterrent to employer safety
                  and health violations?


                                                                                                                 Percent ot
                                                                                                                inspectors
                  Allowable penalties shoufci be...
                     Greatlv increased
                             I
                                                                                                                            46
                     Somewhat increased                                                                                     30
                     Kept the same                                                                                          21
                     Somewhat decreased                                                                                      2
                     Greatlv decreased                                                                                  -i




                  Page 57                                GAO/HID-Bl-BFS   Owupational       safety   & Health Improvement
Appenarxrn
f3nmmIuy of Qneetionnaire    R4?eponsos




40. The chart below shows the current maximum allowable penalty by
kind of violation. On the basis of your professional judgment and experi-
ence, write in the amount that you think the penalty should be so as to
serve as a reasonable deterrent.


                                                     Current maxixiay;             Your proposed
                                                                                maximum penalty*
Willful violations                                                $10,000                     $25,000
Reoeat violations                                                  10.000                      15.000
Serious violations                                                  1,000                       5,000
Other than serious violations                                       1,000                       1,000
Failure to abate or correct                                     1,OOO/day                   1,OOO/day
%ver half of the inspectors, on a weighted basis, recommended   this maximum penalty or more.


41. OSHAhas recently levied some substantially larger initial penalties
for egregious violations by permitting assessments of a penalty for each
instance of a violation. What effect, if any, do you think this has had on
other employers’ compliance with OSHArequirements?


                                                                                           Percent of
                                                                                          inspectors
Very great                                                                                             19
Great                                                                                                  27
Moderate                                                                                               28
Some                                                                                                   15
Little or no                                                                                           11


42. Do you believe OSHAshould use the “instance-by-instance” approach,
described in question 41, more or less often or about the same as it does
now?


                                                                                           Percent of
                                                                                          inwectors
Much more                                                                                              20
More                                                                                                   41
About the same                                                                                         27
Less                                                                                                    8
Much less                                                                                               5




Page 68                            GAO/HRDBl-BFS      Ckcupationd    Safety   & Health   Improvement
                        Appendix    IJl
                        hunmax~     of Clnestionndre   Reeponsee




                        43. When employers contest a citation, the settlement agreement
                        reached may result in the lowering of the initial penalty. For the inspec-
                        tions you conducted during fiscal year 1988 in which penalties were
                        reduced, do you believe that given the circumstances, the penalties were
                        generally reduced by about the right amount, too much, or too little?


                                                                                                                       Percent of
                                                                                                                      inspectors
                        Generally    reduced by the right amount                                                                  44
                        Generally    reduced too little                                                                          -3
                        Generally    should not have been reduced at all                                                          16
                        Generally    reduced too much                                                                             30
                        No basis    to judge                                                                                        7


                        44. In addition to current civil penalties available to OSHA,what other
                        penalties or sanctions, if any, would you suggest that may serve as
                        effective deterrents to safety and health violations?

                        160 respondents provided 211 comments.

                        46. What else would you like to say about                         OSHA'S   civil penalties?

                        181 respondents provided comments,


Criminal Prosecutions   46. and 47. If criminal sanctions for safety and health violations were
                        used more often by government (federal/state and local), what effect, if
                        any, do you think that would have on reducing violations?


                                                                                                 Percent of Inspector8
                                                                                              Criminal eanctlons used by
                                                                                               Federal         State and local
                        Very great                                                                   41                          39
                        Great                                                                        40                          40
                        Moderate                                                                     11                          13
                        Some                                                                          5                           5
                        Little or no                                                                  3                            4




                                                              GAO/HRD-91-9F8      Occupational     Safbty & Health Improvement




                                                                        ‘,
                                                       : II             ,, :)),d! ““a;,
            APw*      m
            snmmaly   of QlIertiollnah   Re8ponee$




            48. What legislative changes, if any, do you think are needed with
            respect to criminal penalties?

            113respondents provided 182 comments
            49. What administrative changes, if any, do you think would be neces-
            sary for OSHAand the Department of Labor to pursue criminal prosecu-
            tions more vigorously?

            167 respondents provided 180 comments

            60. What else would you like to say about the use of criminal sanctions?

            119 respondents provided 126 comments


Abatement   61. In the inspections you conducted or supervised in fiscal year 1988,
            approximately how many employers, if any, did you cite for serious,
            willful, or repeat violations?

            Inspectors reported citing, on weighted average, 7 1 employers.

            62. Of the employers identified in question 61, approximately what per-
            centage fully complied with the terms of the abatement agreement?


                                                                                       Percent of infmectors
            EmDlovers fully complied                                                                            72
            Employers did not comply                                                                             6
            Emolovers for whom I do not know                                                                    21


            63. Again, of the employers identified in question 61, for approximately
            what percentage were you satisfied that the abatement agreement made
            at settlement would correct the problem?

            Inspectors reported, on average, that 83 percent of the agreements
            would correct the problems noted.




            Page 60                           GAO/HRD91-9F’S   Occupational   Safety   % Health   Improvement
64. Which of the following is your principal source of knowledge for
knowing whether or not employers comply with abatement settlements?


                                                                                        Percent of
                                                                                       lnrrpectorr
Follow-up inspections    I conduct                                                                 26
Follow-UD insoections    conducted bv another comoliance officer                                    6
Employer’s resDonse     to letter                                                                  53
Employer’s response     to telephone call                                                           1
Other                                                                                              13


66. How appropriate is OSHA’Spolicy of using a letter to determine
whether a violation has been abated?


                                                                                        Percent of
                                                                                       inspectors
Verv aoorooriate                                                                                    6
Appropriate                                                                                        32
As appropriate as inappropriate                                                                    38
Inaoorooriate                                                                                      18
Verv inawrorxiate                                                                                   7


66. What changes, if any, do you believe should be made to improve
OSHA’Sabatement-confirmation activities?

237 respondents provided comments.

67. What else would you like to say about 06~~‘s abatement-confirma-
tion activities?

146 respondents provided comments.




Page 61                           GAO/HBDol-9PS    Occupational    Safety   8 Health Improvement
                                                                                                             ,
                  Appendix   ID
                  Summary    of Queetlonndre   aesponseS




Imminent Danger   68. How strongly do you agree or disagree that in cases of imminent
                  danger, OSHAinspectors should be allowed to carry out immediate shut-
                  down operations without having to first obtain a court order?


                                                                                                       Percent of
                                                                                                      inspectors
                  Strongly agree                                                                                  53
                  Agree                                                                                           27
                  Agree as much as disagree                                                                       10
                  Disagree                                                                                         7
                  Strongly disagree                                                                                3



                  69. How adequately or inadequately has the training provided by OSHA
                  (Training Institute as well as field training) prepared you to identify
                  imminent danger situations?


                                                                                                       Percent of
                                                                                                      inspectors
                  Very adequately                                                                                 IO
                  Adequately                                                                                      35
                  Moderately                                                                                      29
                  Poorly                                                                                          20
                  Verv inadeauatelv                                                                                6



                  60. In the inspections you conducted during fiscal year 1988, approxi-
                  mately how many times did you find it necessary to have workers
                  removed because of imminent danger?

                  On the basis of compliance officer responses, we estimate that 2,130
                  instances occurred in fiscal year 1988.

                  61. Of those imminent danger situations referenced in question 60, (1)
                  approximately how many were corrected while you were still at the
                  workplace, before or after posting a imminent danger notice, and (2) in
                  how many was it necessary to obtain a temporary restraining order
                  from the court to compel removal of the danger?

                  On the basis of compliance officer responses, we estimate that about
                  2,100 of the 2,130 instances identified in question 60 were corrected
                  without a court order.



                  Page 62                           GAO/HItD91-9FS   Occupational   Safety & Health Improvement
62. Once the imminent danger situations were discovered, on average,
how long would you estimate workers were at risk before a situation
was resolved (270 respondents)?


                                                                              Percent of
                                                                             inspectors
Less than an hour                                                                         71
Between 1 and 4 hours                                                                     13
Between 4 and 8 hours                                                                      6
More than 8 hours                                                                         10


63. Again, for those imminent danger situations referenced in question
60, (1) indicate whether or not there were any situations involving inju-
ries or fatalities while abatement was being achieved and (2) if there
were injuries or fatalities, approximately how many of each occurred
during fiscal year 1988?

Four respondents identified instances of injuries or fatalities.

64. What else would you like to say about      OSHA'S     responses to imminent
dangers?

126 respondents provided comments.




Page08                    GAO/HIUbBl-BFB   OccupatIonal   Snfety & Health   Improvement
                    Appendix   IU
                    sulnmasy   of t&leetionnaire   RellpoMe6




                    66, In general, how knowledgeable do you believe the following dif-
IV. Education and   ferent groups of employers and workers are about safety hazards?
Training Programs
                                                                        Percent of inspectors
                                                                     Knowledge of safety hazards
                                                          Little or                                                 Very    Don’t
                    EmDlovero                                    no Some           Moderate           Great        great    know
                    1. Overall, employers as a
                       group                                    1        25                  60          IO            2          2
                    2. Large-sized employers (over
                       500 workers)                             0         4                  24          41           30          2
                    3. Medium-sized employers
                       (100 to 500 workers)                     2        16                  44          31            5          2
                    4. Small-sized employers (99
                       or fewer workers)                       19        45                  28           5            0          2
                    5. Employers with safety/
                       health clans                             0        13                  28          42           15          2
                    6. Employers without safety/
                       health plans                            21        45                  25           5            1          2
                    7. Employers with worker
                       representation                           1        12                  47          28            8          3
                    8. Employers without worker
                       rerxesentation                          22        45                  24           6            1          3

                    Worker8
                    I. Overall, workers as a group              9        48                  38           4            1          1
                    2. Workers employed by large-
                       sized employers                          2        14                  44          31            6          2
                    3. Workers employed by
                       medium-sized emnlovers                   6        38                  42          11            1          2
                    4. Workers employed by small-
                       sized employers                         44        41                  12           1            1          2
                    5. V$$?rs with safety/health
                                                                2        19                  53          18            6          2
                    6. Workers without safety/
                       health plans                            29        52                  13           3            1          2
                    7. Workers with worker
                       representation                           2        25                  44          21            5          3
                    8. Workers without worker
                       representation                          32        47                  14           3            1          3




                    Page 64                             GAO/HUD-@l-9PS        Occupational   Safety    fk Health    Improvement
Appendix   III
summary    of Qu&lonnaire   ReaponseI3




66. In general, how knowledgeable do you believe the following dif-
ferent groups of employers and workers are about health hazards‘?


                                                     Percent of inspectors
                                                  Knowledge of health hazards
                                   Little or                                                        Don’t
Employers                                 no Some           Moderate       Great          g?z       know
1. Overall, employers as a
   group                                 10       40                  38          5             2        5
2. Large-sized employers (over
   500 workers)                           1        7                  40        34          12           6
3. Medium-sized employers
   (100 to 500 workers)                   4       33                  42        14              2        5
4. Small-sized employers (99
   or fewer workers)                     42       38                  14          2             0        5
5. Employers with safety/
   health plans                           1       21                  45        23              5        5
6. Employers without safety/
   health Plans                          31       47                  12          6             0        5
7. Employers with worker
   representation                         4       29                  40        18              3        6
8. Employers without worker
   representation                        36       43                  12          3             0        6

Workers
1, Overall, workers as a amuP            17       47                  27          3             0        5
2. Workers employed by large
   sized emplovers                        3       25                  43        21              3        5
3. Workers employed by
   medium-sized employers                10       47                  31          7             0        5
4. Workers employed by small-
   sized employers                       59       27                   8          1             0        5
5. Workers with safety/health
   plans                                  6       32                  45        11              1        5
6. Workers without safety/
   health Plans                          49       38                   7          1             0        6
7. Workers with worker
   reoresentation                         7       37                  34        14              1        6
8. Workers without worker
   representation                        53       33                   7         0              0        6




Page 66                          GAO/HRD-9l-9Fs        Occupational   Safety   & Health    Improvement
                                                                                           .




67. In general, how knowledgeable do you believe the following dif-
ferent groups of employers and workers are about the OSHAct, regula-
tions, and standards?


                                                  Percent of in8pectorr
                                        Knowledge of act, regulatiotre, and standard,
                                  Little or                                    Very   Don’t
Employers                                no Some      Moderate       Greet    great   know
1. Overall, employers as a
ww                                       4        31                  54          9            2       0
2. Large-sized employers (over
500 workers)                             0         6                  34        40         19          0
3. Medium-sized employers
(100 to 500 workers)                     3        26                  45        22             3       0
4. Small-sized employers (99
or fewer workers)                       29        46                  21          4            0       0
5. Employers with safety/
health plans                             1        21                  46        26             6       0
6. Employers without safety/
health plans                            26        51                  19          3            0       0
7. Employers with worker
representation                           2        28                  41        21             6       1
8. Employers without worker
representation                          28        48                  20          2            1       1

Worker8
1. Overall, workers as a group          12        49                  36          3            0       0
2. Workers employed by large-
sized employers                          3        25                  43        23             5       0
3. Workers employed by
medium-sized employers                  11        45                  36          7’           1       0
4. Workers employed by small-
sized employers                         50        39                   9          1            0       0

5piaErkers with safety/health            6        37                  42        12             2       0
6. Workers without safety/
health plans                            44        45                   8          1            1       0
7. Workers with worker
representation                           7        39                  37        13             2       1
6. Workers without worker
rerxesentation                          54        36                   8          0            0       2




PIge 60                          GAO/HUD-Bl-BFS        Occupational   Safety   & Health   Impmvement
~&TO what extent does the lack of knowledge or understanding by
employers of the OSHAC%, regulations, and standards, contribute to safety
and health violations and work-related injuries and illness?


                                                    Percent of inspectors
                                    Very                                               Little
                                   great        Great       Moderate         Some      or no
Safety violations                        13         46                25        14           1
Health violations                        23         46                22 i       8           1
Work-related iniuries                     9         35                30        15           2
Work-related illnesses                   15         41                27        15           2


69. To what extent does the lack of knowledge or understanding by
workers of the OSHAct, regulations, and standards contribute to safety
and health violations and work-related injuries and illness?


                                                    Percent of inspectors
                                     Very                                              Little
                                    great       Great       Moderate         Some      or no
Safety violations                        17          40               24        15           4
Health violations                        23          37               19        17           4
Work-related injuries                    14          42               22        17           5
Work-related illnesses                   18          40               21        15           5




Page 67                  GAO/HRBBl-BF6        Occupationd   Safety   8z Health Improvement
                                          .~
Appendix   III
summary    of Quentionnalre   Reaponeea




70. Through various programs and services, OSHAprovides information
to employers and workers regarding safety and health matters. Indicate
how effective you think each of the following CBHAprograms and ser-
vices is for educating employers and workers regarding safety and
health issues.


                                                         Percent of Inspectors
                                                        Degree of effectlveneas
Educatlng/tralnlng                  Little or                                               Very   Don’t
  employer8                                no Some           Moderate       Qreat          great   know
OSHA Training Institute                   14       27                  19        25           10           5
OSHA publications                          9       28                  37        21            3           1
Technical advice/assistance                8       19                  35        27            9           2
Audiovisual aids                          15       34                  25        19            1           6
Speakers                                   6       23                  29        30            8           3
Consultation assistance                    7       15                  29        34           11           5
Voluntary Protection Program              24       25                  20        11            7          13
Grants program (New
  Directions1                             24       27                  17         8            2          22

Educating/training     workers
OSHA Training Institute                   34       19                  13        19            8           6
OSHA publications                         20       32                  27        16            4           1
Technical advice/assistance               19       25                  26        21            6           3
Audiovisual aids                          25       26                  23        19            3           5
Seeakers                                  15       26                  24        25            8           3
Consultation assistance                   26       24                  19        18            8           6
Voluntary Protection Program              34       26                  15         8            4          13
Grants program (New
  Directions)                             29       25                  16          7           3          21


7 1. What else would you like to say about education and training?

199 respondents provided 403 comments.




Page 68                            GAO/HRDBl-BFS        Occupational   Safety   % Health    Improvement
                  72. OSHA’Sconstruction standards require employers to have safety and
V. Employer       health programs. How much, if any, have safety and health in the con-
Involvement       struction industry improved because of these requirements?


                                                                                            Percent of
                                                                                           inspector8
                  Very greatly                                                                           3
                  Greatly                                                                               10
                  Moderatelv                                                                            25
                  Somewha;                                                                              22
                  Little or no                                                                          18
                  No basis to iudae                                                                     23


                  73. Some employers in general industry have voluntarily developed
                  safety and health programs, and OSHAhas published guidelines to assist
                  them in developing such programs. How much would it improve safety
                  and health in general industry if such programs were to be required?


                                                                                            Percent of
                                                                                           inspector8
                  Very greatly                                            -__                           13
                  Greatly                                                                               36
                  Moderatelv                                                                            27
                  Somewhat                                                                              17
                  Little or no                                                                           6
                  No basis to judge                                                                      1
              I

                  74. Should high-hazard employers, repeat violators, both, or neither be
                  required to have safety and health programs?


                                                                                            Percent of
                                                                                           inspectors
                  Hiah hazard onlv                                                                    3
                  Repeat violators only                                                                  1
                  Both                                                                                  90
                  Neither                                                                               2
                  No basis to iudae                                                                     5




                  Page09                   GAO/HFUbBlQFS
                                                       Occupational   Safety    fk Health Improvement
                                                                                               .

                                                                                                      ,
Appendix     III
SumnarY      of Questionnab          Respoxwe8




76. Which employers in general industry, if any, should be exempt from
a requirement to develop and implement safety and health programs?
(CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)


                                                                                                Percent of
                                                                                               inspector8
No general industry employers                                                                               63
General industrv emolovers with fewer than            10 workers                                            1s
Employers      in industries with
          ---.-_---            ___- below-average    injury and illness rates                               10
Employers, regardless of industry category,          with below-average injury
   and illness rates
----_----_-.--             _.- ._..-                  --                                                      5
All aeneral industrv emolovers                                                                            6
Other                                                                                                         5


76. Would worker safety and health be improved, remain the same, or
deteriorate if OSHAwas to place greater emphasis on evaluating required
employer safety and health programs and less on monitoring compliance
with specific standards?


                                                                                                Percent Of
                                                                                               inspectors
Greatlv imorove                                                                                               7
Improve                                                                                                     16
Remain
__        the
            ..~same
    _........._ .._-.. _.__~. --~-                                                                          16
Deteriorate
-.____  ..__-----.-.-.-.   ..--. .~                                                                         40
Greatlv deteriorate                                                                                         19


77. What else would you like to say about employer involvement?

144 respondents provided 178 comments.




Page 70                                   GAO/HRD-91.9Fs   Occupational   Safety   % Health   Improvement
              Appendix III
              Sumnuuy of Questionnaire      Responw~




              78. In general, what change, if any, is needed in worker involvement in
VI, Worker    osHA’s enforcement program?
Involvement
                                                                 Percent of inspectors
                                                  Much less    Less    No change More          Much more
              Requesting inspections                       0      3              38      42                 17
              Accompanying OSHA
                inspectors                                 0      1              34      47                 18
              Participating in settlement
                discussions                                0      0              30      49                 20


              79. In general, how adequately do most OSHAinspectors explain
              section 1 l(c) antidiscrimination provisions during their opening
              conferences?


                                                                                                 Percent of
                                                                                                inspectors
              Very adequately                                                                               11
              Adequately                                                                                    45
              Moderately                                                                                    28
              Poorly                                                                                        11
              Not explained at all                                                                           6


              80. Approximately what proportion of workers do you believe are
              knowledgeable about their rights under section 1 l(c) procedures?


                                                                                                 Percent of
                                                                                                inspectors
              All or almost all                                                                              0
              Most                                                                                           4
              About half                                                                                    17
              Some                                                                                          46
              Few or none                                                                                   33




              Page 71                          GAO/HRB91-9PS   Occupational   Safety & Health Improvement
    Appendix   III
    Summary    of    Qneationndre   Itesponses




    81. Overall as a group, how free do you believe workers are to exercise
    their section 1 l(c) rights? (For example, to talk confidentially with OSHA
    inspectors.)


                                                                                                        Percent of
                                                                                                       inspectors
    Free to exercise riahts                                                                                         9
    Moderately free to exercise rights                                                                              26
    Somewhat free to exercise rights                                                                                43
    Not free to exercise riahts                                                                                     22

    82. In general, how well protected do workers believe they will be by
    section 1 l(c) procedures if they report violations to OSHAagainst their
    employers?


                                                                                                        Percent of
                                                                                                       inspectors
    Very well                                                                                                       0
    Well                                                                                                            2
    Moderately                                                                                                      15
    Somewhat                                                                                                        36
    Little or not                                                                                                   46

    83. In general, how well do you believe workers are protected by section
    1 l(c) procedures when they report violations by their employers to
    OSHA?


                                                                                                        Percent of
                                                                                                       inspector5
    Very well                                                                                                       2
    Well                                                                                                            12
    Moderately                                                                                                      24
    Somewhat                                                                                                        36
    Little or no                                                                                                    26



Y




    Page 72                                      GAO/HRD-91-9PS   Occupational   Safety   81 Health   Improvement
.   Appendix   III
    Mlmmmy     Of QnsatiImalre   ReapoIlsei3




    84. What else would you like to say about worker involvement?

    136 respondents provided 190 comments.

    86. Any other comments?

    76 respondents provided 109 comments.




    Page 78
Appendix IV

CommentsFrom the Department of Labor                                                                                ”



               U.S. Department of Labor         Assistant Secretary for
                                                Occupational Safety and Health
                                                Washington. IX. 20210


                OCT 4 1990


              Mr. Franklin Frazier
              Director of Education
                 and Employment Issues
              U.S. General Accounting Office
              Washington, D.C.    20548

              Dear   Mr.   Frazier:

              The draft General Accounting Office (GAO) report,       "Inspector
              opinions of the OSRAProgram," which the Occupational Safety and
              Health Administration      (OSHA) has reviewed, presents the results
              of a survey mailed in Way 1989 to all of the agency's field
                   st-u     supervisors   and a randomly selected sample of
              approximately    one-third   of OSHA's compliance safety and health
              officers   (CSHOs).
              OSHA's concerns are not with the survey or its results,              but
              rather with its timing.        In our letter    to you of June 19, 1990
               (which appears as Appendix IV to the GAO report issued earlier
              this month, S&&ions for mrovina           metv    andHealth     in #R
              m),             we stated our belief that throughout that report GAO
              placed too much reliance on the results of the survey it had
              conducted of 322 OSHAcompliance officers           and 155 first-line
              supervisors.      We also noted that by consulting       only first-line
              supervisors,     GAO had failed   to tap one of the most important
              sources of professional       expertise   in the agency--0SRA's Regional
              Administrators,     Area Directors,     and other senior field managers.
              Elsewhere in our letter       of June 1990, we noted that GAOhad
              presented a comprehensive overview of the problems facing
              Secretary Dole and myself when I assumed office on October 6,
              1989, but that since that time there had been significant               changes
              in OSHA's operations.       Moreover, since my letter       of June 1990,
              the pace of change in the agency has, if anything,             accelerated.
              It is our conviction          that a number of the opinions represented in
              GAO's draft report,         "Inspector   Opinions of the OSHAProgram,"
              reflect    an institutional        state of mind which may have changed
              over the past year.          While the opinions GAOpresents have
              historical    relevance, we believe they may have less relevance to
              the current opinions of OSIiA inspectors.            Never before in the
              agency's history,        has our field staff been involved as much as it
              has in the past year in planning for the agency's future.
              Nonetheless, we are continuing to evaluate, most seriously,    all
              of the options proposed by GAO in its llOptionsl' report.   I am
              pleased to note that a number of the issues raised in those




                           Page 74                   GAO/HRD-91-9PS        &cupationd   Safety   fk Health   Improvement
        Comments   From the Depwtment   of Labor




options are already being addressed by OSHAas the agency strives
to develop programs and policies  to improve workplace safety and
health.
Since the results of the survey were not issued along with the
9~0ptions1V report, readers of the llInspector Opinions" report will
have no way of knowing that what they are reading may not
represent current inspector opinions of the OSHAprogram. Under
the circumstances I am sure you will agree that this letter be
printed along with your forthcoming report,    "Inspector Opinions
of the OSHAProgram."
sincerely.



Assistant    Secretary




        Page 75                         GAO/HRIM&@PS   Ckcupatlond   Safety   & Health   Improvement
Appendix V

Major Contributors to This Fact Sheet


                         Carlotta J. Young, Assistant Director, (202) 52343701
Human Resources
Division,
Washington, D.C.

                         David J. Toner, Evaluator-in-Charge
Phi1ade1phia   Re@onal   Regina Santucci Evaluator
Office                   Marilyn R. Fish&, Computer Programmer Specialist
                         Harry S. Shanis, Design Methodology Specialist




                         Page 70                  GAO/Hl?D@l-9PS   Occupational   Safety 8 He&h   Improvement
c




    Page 77   GAO/IilEb@b9FS   Ckcu~tlonal   Safety   & Health Improwmant
Page78
Page79
                                                                           ‘




RdaM GAO Products


            Occupational Safety & Health: Options for Improving Safety and Health
            in the Workplace (GAOjHRD-go-66~~, Aug. 24, 1999).

            How Well Does OSHA Protect Workers From Reprisals: Insnector Onin-
                                                          A          *         *


            ions (GAO/T-HRD-90-8, Nov. 16, 1989).

            Occupational Safety & Health: OSHAContracting for Federal Rulemaking
            Activities (GAO/HRD-89-102BR, June 16, 1989).

            Occupational Safety & Health: California’s Resumption of Enforcement
            Responsibility in the Private Sector (GAO~HRD-89-82,Apr. 17, 1989).

            Occupational Safety & Health: Assuring Accuracy in Employer Injury
            Ed Illness Records (GAO/HRD-89-23, Dec. S&1988).

            OSHA'S Resumption of Private Sector Enforcement Activities in Cali-
            fornia (GAO/T-HRD-~&19, June 20, 1988).

            OGHA'S Monitoring and Evaluation of State Programs (GAO/T-HRD-88-13,
            Apr. 20,1988).




(soalra)    Page80                   GAO/HID-@l-@I?3
                                                 OccupationalSafety& HealthImprovement
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