Sometimes the people who do the inspecting get inspected, too. As part of its 2015 Workplan, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will continue or begin five audits to determine OSHA’s effectiveness.
In a report released this fall, the OIG listed “protecting the safety and health of workers” as one of its “significant concern(s) that cause the Department [of Labor] to be particularly vulnerable to mismanagement, error, fraud, waste or abuse.” Specifically,
“the OIG remains concerned with OSHA’s ability to best target its compliance activities to those areas where they can have the greatest impact … We are also concerned with OSHA’s ability to measure the impact of its policies and programs and those of the 21 states authorized by OSHA to operate their own safety and health programs.”
Previous audits found that, due to a lack of outcome-based data, OSHA didn’t always effectively target and inspect the highest risk industries and companies.
So the OIG’s 2015 Workplan contains these five OSHA audits:
- Whistleblower Protection Programs. OIG wants to determine if OSHA conducted sufficient, complete and timely whistleblower investigations and communicated employer violations to the agency’s Enforcement Directorate or other federal agencies to further investigate.
- Usage of National Emphasis Programs (NEPs) and Local Emphasis Programs (LEPs). OSHA uses its NEPs and LEPs to target high-hazard industries associated with severe injuries and fatalities. OIG wants to find out if the programs had an impact on working conditions in targeted high-hazard industries.
- Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). OIG wants to determine if OSHA implemented effective processes within the VPP to follow up on fatalities and catastrophes that VPP participants experienced.
- Adequacy and Timeliness of Abatement Verification. OIG will determine if OSHA properly conducted timely abatement verification of safety and health violations cited during inspections.
- Enforcement and Inspections at DOL-owned Job Corps Centers. OIG will determine if OSHA properly conducted inspections and then properly used available enforcement resources if it found violations at DOL-owned Job Corps Centers.