This graphic from the GAO report illustrates the difference between federal OSHA and state-run enforcement programs in terms of total inspections, fines and violations.

OSHA is responsible for overseeing occupational safety and health for more than 130 million workers. In about half the states, OSHA sets and enforces compliance with safety and health standards. The remaining states set and enforce their own standards under OSHA-approved plans. In fiscal year 2010, OSHA strengthened its monitoring of state-run programs following a dozen worker deaths between 2006 and 2008 on construction sites in Nevada, which is a state-run program. Both Congress and OSHA looked into Nevada’s program and found deficiencies. The examination into Nevada’s enforcement raised questions about how closely OSHA monitors its own enforcement efforts.

According to the new report from the Government Accounting Office (GAO), which examines OSHA’s efforts to monitor its own enforcement activities, OSHA regional officials review performance reports on federal activities at least every other week but review reports on state-run program activities quarterly. In addition, OSHA’s guidance for audits of its regional and area offices is more consistent than the guidance for its audits of state-run programs.

GAO reviewed OSHA’s monitoring policies and procedures and relevant federal laws and regulations; analyzed federal and state audits; visited three OSHA regional offices; and interviewed OSHA officials and other experts in order to produce “Further Steps by OSHA Would Enhance Monitoring of Enforcement and Effectiveness.”

Is OSHA Is Doing Enough to Monitor its Own Enforcement Efforts?
EHS Today