In 1999, 5,714 health and safety inspections took place in Oregon. These inspections were conducted out of the five OR-OSHA field offices, Salem, Portland, Eugene, Medford and Bend, and the OR-OSHA central office. Safety inspections accounted for 5,056, or 88.5 percent of all inspections. Safety officers look for compliance with occupational safety standards, such as those covering machinery and machine guarding, construction, personal protective equipment, and fire protection. The remaining 658 inspections focused on health standards, such as those for asbestos, water and sanitation, and hazard communication. Employees covered by these inspections totaled 169,279. This is an increase of 11.1 percent from the 152,355 employees covered in 1998.
Inspections are conducted for different reasons. The majority of inspections are scheduled on prioritized lists created through the use of the most current injury and employment data available. An inspection may also be done in response to a valid compliant about an existing hazardous condition or in response to a referral from another agency. When an inspection is completed in which hazards have been cited and the employer is given a specific period in which to comply, a follow-up inspection may be conducted to assure that the hazards have been abated. An inspection may also be done when there is a job fatality or catastrophe. Finally an unprogrammed related inspection of an employer at a multi-employer worksite may be done if the employer is not identified in the complaint, referral, etc., which initiated the inspection. A construction site inspected due to a complaint and the second employer is inspected as a result is an example of an unprogrammed related inspection.
The 5,056 safety inspections represent a 12.2 percent increase of the 4,507 done in 1998. Inspections in general industries (all industries except logging and construction), went up by 21.3 percent to 2,616. Inspections conducted in construction were up 8.3 percent to 2,224, and logging industry inspections were down 27.3 percent to 216. The 216 logging inspections made up 22.6 percent of the 955 manufacturing inspections, and 4.3 percent of the total safety inspections for 1999.
In 1999, the Oregon OSHA Division conducted a total of 658 health inspections. This is a 1.2 percent decrease under the 666 conducted in 1998. The number of employees covered in 1999 fell 8.8 percent to 38,108. In 1998, 41,769 employees were covered. Agriculture, forestry and fishing health inspection fell 17.4 percent from 69 in 1998 to 57 in 1999. Manufacturing inspections fell 8.5 percent to 183 in 1999.
Violations of the occupational safety and health standards are categorized on the basis of the probability of an accident and the likely severity of the resulting injury or illness. Serious violations occur when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result. Repeat violations are an employers second or subsequent violation of the same standard. Willful violations are committed by an employer or supervisory employee who intentionally or knowingly disobeys the requirements of a standards. Other violations are cited for hazardous conditions that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of the employees. Administrative and mandatory penalty violations are included in the other category.
In 1999, 24.8 percent of the 5,056 safety inspections found
the employers to be in compliance. Out of the total 9,833 safety
violations found, 6,151, 62.6 percent, were in the other category.
Serious violations made up another 34.8 percent. Repeat violations
were 2.4 percent, and willful violations made up 0.2 percent.
The table above gives the historical trend for safety violations.
Table 4 shows the proposed penalties assessed against employers for violations found during safety inspections. These are not the actual penalties paid, but the penalties assessed before any informal conference hearing is held which could reduce the proposed penalties. In 1999, proposed penalties totaled $2,732,360, a 28.5 percent increase over 1998.
In 1999, 31.5 percent of the 658 health inspections found the employers to be in compliance. Out of the total 1,599 health violations found, 895, 56.0 percent, were in the other category. Serious violations made up another 40.8 percent, repeat violations were 3.2 percent, and there was one willful violation. The following table gives the historical trend for health violations.
The agriculture industry had 165 violations, 10.3 percent of all violations. The manufacturing industry had the highest total violations at 574, or 35.9 percent of the total. Together the construction and manufacturing industries accounted for half of all violations found.
Table 6 shows the proposed penalties assessed against employers for violations found during health inspections. These are not the actual penalties paid, but the penalties assessed before any informal conference hearing is held, which could reduce the proposed penalties. In 1999, proposed penalties totaled $306,850, a 14.3 increase over 1998.
Appendix A. Safety and
health inspections, violations, and proposed penalties, FFY 1990-1999
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