OSHA's Inspection Database

HEHS-97-43R: Published: Dec 30, 1996. Publicly Released: Dec 30, 1996.

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GAO reviewed the accuracy of data contained in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Integrated Management Information Systems (IMIS) database. GAO noted that: (1) a few federal contractors identified as OSHA violators have expressed concerns about penalty and violation information GAO obtained from IMIS; (2) OSHA does not always appropriately characterize or fully capture information on corporatewide or individual facility settlement agreements, nor does OSHA always change inspection data in a timely manner to reflect the terms of a settlement agreement; and (3) as a result, information regarding the number or type of violations and penalty amounts associated with a particular inspection can be distorted or inaccurate and the depiction within IMIS of the relationship of a fatality or injury to the violations detected can be misleading.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In December 1997, OSHA instructed its field offices to review the data in all significant cases for the last three years, which according to OSHA officials, resulted in a review of over 1,000 cases and immediate incorporation of changes into the database. OSHA created an additional field in the database to add information about enforcement actions for those cases that cannot be appropriately characterized in the regular data fields. Also, OSHA added a disclaimer to its web page explaining for what uses the information was intended and what procedures employers and employees should follow if they believe the data in IMIS are incorrect.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary of Occupational Safety and Health to immediately assess the quality of IMIS data as they relate to settlement agreements and the procedures by which data are entered and maintained and to develop an action plan to immediately correct any detected weaknesses.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

 

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