On May 19, 2008, OSHA Directive Number 08-03 became effective. That directive provides the criteria by which OSHA will conduct the 2008 Site-Specific Targeting (“SST-08”) plan. OSHA’s SST program is the main programmed inspection plan for non-construction workplaces that have 40 or more employees.

OSHA’s SST-08 plan has three listings of “establishments” that will be targeted. The focus of the agency’s unannounced comprehensive safety inspections under SST-08 are approximately 3,800 high-hazard workplaces contained on OSHA’s Primary List.  The workplaces on the Secondary List and Tertiary List will only be inspected pursuant to SST-08 if all of the workplaces on the Primary List are inspected.


The Primary List of workplaces for the STT plan for 2008 (“SST-08”) is based on OSHA’s 2007 Data Initiative. The 2007 Data Initiative is based on injury and illness data reported to OSHA for the 2006 year by 80,000 workplaces with 40 or more employees in historically high-rate industries. Appendix A to SST-08 lists the workplaces that were the focus of the 2007 Data Initiative Survey.

The 3,800 workplaces on the SST-08 Primary List are:

(1)      those worksites that have a DART rate at or above 11.0 – any           worksite that reported 11 or more injuries or illnesses resulting in       days away from work, restricted work activities, or job transfer for      every 100 full-time employees; or

(2)      those worksites that have a DAFWII (the Days Away From Work Injury and Illness) case rate at or above 9.0- meaning 9 or more           cases that involve days away from work per 100 full-time           employees.

OSHA will also include 175 worksites from high-rate industries that reported low injury and illness rates to OSHA on the Primary List. The purpose for inspecting those low rate workplaces is to allow OSHA to verify the reliability of claims by establishments that have achieved low DART rates. The 175 worksites are approximately 10 percent (10%) of the workplaces that meet the low rate criteria. Moreover, the low rate workplaces chosen for inspection will not be eligible for a “records only” inspection.   Also, the low rate workplaces can only be deleted from the Primary List if the Area Office determines that the establishment consists only of an office.

Additionally, a random sample of worksites that did not provide rate information in accordance with the 2007 OSHA Data Initiative survey will also be placed on the Primary List for the SST-08 plan. The purpose of the inspections of the non-responding workplaces is to discourage employers from not responding to the data initiative surveys to avoid inspections. These establishments may not be deleted from the Primary List.


A Secondary List for worksites to be inspected under the SST-08 plan will also be created. The Secondary List will contain workplaces:

(1)      with DART rates of 7.0 or greater, but less than 11.0, or

          (2)      with DAFWII case rates of 5.0 or greater, but less than 9.0.

The Dart rate for the Secondary List under the SST-08 plan did not change, but the DAFWII case rate was increased to 5.0 (meaning 5 or more cases that involve days away from work per 100 full-time employees). The OSHA notice states the Area Office can obtain additional workplaces to inspect from the Secondary List “[i]f an Area Office completes its inspections of all establishments on its Primary List before the expiration of this SST program . . . .”


SST-08 also allows an Area Office that completes all of the inspection on its Primary List and Secondary List before the expiration of the SST program to obtain additional workplaces to inspect from the Office of Statistical Analysis (“OSA”). The OSA will randomly select and provide each Area Office with the number of workplaces the office requested. However, no workplace with a DART rate of 4.6 or lower and a DAFWII case rate of 2.6 or lower will be included in the Tertiary List.


If a workplace that is on an inspection list under the SST-08 plan has fewer than 40 employees at the time the inspector arrives on site to begin the inspection, the inspection will be conducted if:

(1)      the workplace has more than 10 employees and

(2)      its DART rate or its DAFWII case rate is at or above twice the           private sector 2006 national incidence rate- meaning that the DART          rate is 4.6 or the DAFWII case rate is 2.6.

Further, the inspection will also occur if there are no records available at the time of the inspection.


In Directive 08-03, OSHA has indicated that in addition to the SST-08 program, that it will continue the use of national and local “emphasis” inspection programs to target high-risk hazards and industries. The eight National Emphasis Programs (NEPs) now focus on amputations, crystalline silica, shipbreaking, trenching/excavations, petroleum refinery process safety management, microwave popcorn processing plants, and combustible dust. Furthermore, OSHA has 140 Local Emphasis Programs (LEPs) in place at this time.

Additionally, OSHA runs the Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP) that focuses on employers that repeatedly ignore safety and health obligations under the OSHA regulations. The EEP cases can result from a programmed OSHA inspection (a SST, NEP, or LEP inspection), or an un-programmed OSHA inspection resulting from imminent danger, a fatality or catastrophic incident, complaints, or referrals.


The full text of Directive 08-03 which establishes SST-08 can be located at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02_08-03.pdf. Importantly, the method for setting the inspection schedules, including deferrals, the specifications for deletions of workplaces from the inspection cycle, and the inspection procedures are located at Sections XII, XIII, and XIV, respectively in the full text.