Safety and OSHA News

Has Nevada OSHA set a quota for its inspectors?

If a state tells its occupational safety and health inspectors that they have to find a higher percentage of serious, willful and repeat violations, has it set up a quota system?

That question involves the ongoing saga of Nevada OSHA.

A series of high-profile construction worker fatalities first called attention to the state’s workplace safety record. Six workers were killed at the new CityCenter construction site in Las Vegas alone. Other incidents resulted in more fatalities on major Las Vegas construction projects.

Federal OSHA conducted a review of the state’s program and then extended the investigation to all state workplace safety agencies.

Among the criticism the federal government leveled against Nevada OSHA was failure to cite serious, willful and repeat violations of safety regulations.

Nevada inspectors were averaging 22% serious, willful and repeat violations. The nationwide OSHA average is 79%.

“The feds told us, ‘You guys need to improve your game,'” said Steve Coffield, Nevada OSHA administrator. “Our performance basically has to work toward being as effective as federal OSHA’s.”

Nevada OSHA now requires its inspectors to find higher level citations in at least half of their inspections.

Some Nevada contractors say the rule amounts to a quota.

On top of that new policy, Nevada OSHA will increase the number of inspectors, and thus, inspections. It’s adding four new inspectors, a 10% increase to the agency’s ranks.

Coffield says there are no performance incentives to meet the quota or punishments for falling below the 50% level. Inspectors who don’t reach the new goal just get more training.

For those businesses concerned that the new rules will send inspectors on witch hunts, Coffield has this advice: “If you’re following the rules, and OSHA comes to visit you, you’re not going to have a problem.”

Do you think this amounts to a quota for Nevada OSHA inspectors? What do you think about the state’s new policy? Let us know in the Comments Box below.

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  1. Mr. Safety says:

    Listen. It’s not just Nevada….every state in the country has a quota.
    You’re going to hear that OSHA doesn’t have quotas or use the numbers game but working for OSHA for 16 years let me tell you there is a quota. Let me tell you how it works….The Department of Labor comes up with a number of inspections to be done across the United States. These numbers are then broke down into Regional OSHA Offices. These Regional OSHA Offices then break down th numbers into Area OSHA Offices and this is the number of inspections your particular OSHA had better meet or exceed.
    The Area Office will break the number of inspections down by assigning a number of inspections expected of each compliance officer based on the number of inspections assigned to them by the Regional Offices.
    Inspections are a numbers game they all do it and they’ve always done it. What’s the complaint here. This has been the way OSHA’s been run since the 70’s.
    This is how the regional offices gauge what the area offices are doing and this is how the Department of Labor – OSHA gauges the Regional Offices across the country. These are the numbers that are passed on to Congress and the Senate for them to receive their appropriated monies.
    OSHA wants to always go back into the both houses showing how they exceeded the number expected of them from the previous year.
    This is not rocket science and this is how inspections have always been done. Then you hear something about Nevada says OSHA wants quotas……of course they do.

    The number’s game is passed from the house to the Department of Labor – OSHA to the Regional Offices and then to the Area Offices. The Area Offices pass the numbers on to the compliance officers who are expected to meet or exceed their number of assigned inspections.
    When I was with the department you were supposed to get lets say 150 inspections per year. If you had significant cases where the fines were over 100,000 dollars you were cut some slack for not…

  2. It’s all about revenue.

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