Approximately 40,000 workplaces per year get inspected by OSHA. Inspectors working for State OSHA Programs do roughly 60,000 more. That sounds like a lot. But when you consider how many workplaces there are in the U.S. and the fact that American workers suffer approximately 5 million occupational injuries and illnesses per year, you realize that it’s just a drop in the bucket.
How OSHA Decides Who to Inspect
Statistically, then, the odds that your company will undergo an OSHA inspection are long. But all companies aren’t at equal risk of an inspection. If you look at how OSHA decides who to inspect you’ll get a better sense of how to assess your own inspection risks:
First Priority: Inspections responding to reports of imminent dangers or accidents about to happen.
Second Priority: Inspections after fatalities or accidents serious enough to send at least three workers to the hospital.
Third Priority: Inspections in response to employee complaints.
Fourth Priority: Inspections in response to referrals from other government agencies.
Fifth Priority: Targeted inspections, including under the Site Specific Targeting Program which focuses on employers that report high illness and injury rates, and special emphasis programs focusing on particularly hazardous work such as trenching.
Sixth Priority: Follow-up inspections of employers previously inspected.