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As of October 1, 2019, OSHA announced the implementation of a new weighting system to consider elements like different types of hazards inspected and moderated, along with Site-Specific Targeting and other implementation plans for the 2020 fiscal year (FY). The OSHA Weighting System (OWS) will promote the optimal allocation of resources and information to aid in OSHA’s mission to boost the health and safety of various workplaces. OSHA will continue to expand and maintain administrative systems that focus on critical and strategic sectors where the agency’s initiatives are the most effective.

Out With The Old, In With The New

OSHA’s new weighting system replaces the current one that was implemented in FY 2015. The new OWS was built on the assessment of the current criteria and the suggestions of a working group based on developments to the current weighting system. OSHA has been administering its new weighting system presently to test the reliability of the data.

In the past, the weighting system in place valued inspections based on the time required for inspections to complete, especially the inspection’s effect on the safety and health of the workplace. The update comes after OSHA recorded small declines in overall enforcement divisions under the earlier system. In 2016, the government bureau recorded 42,900 in the program’s initial fiscal year and 41,829 in FY 2017. [1] In the most updated data available, OSHA recorded 41,796 in FY 2018.

Features of OWS

According to the press release, OSHA’s new weighting system “reinforces OSHA’s balanced approach to occupational safety and health (i.e., strong and fair enforcement, compliance assistance and recognition) and will incorporate the three major work elements performed by the field: enforcement activity, essential enforcement support functions (e.g., severe injury reporting and complaint resolution), and compliance assistance efforts.” [2]

OWS will continue to weigh workplace inspections but will do so according to several factors such as agency priorities and the effect of these inspections, instead of being based on time. The new system will further support OSHA’s method of maintaining occupational safety and health, with, for example, strong and fair enforcement, compliance assistance and recognition. The three major work elements that will be incorporated by OSHA’s new weighting system are enforcement activity, essential enforcement support functions, and compliance assistance efforts. [2]


Such new systems are put in place to help create a safer work environment with laborers’ health in mind. If you’d like to get started on your OSHA safety certification, get in touch with a member of our team to learn more about our OSHA courses.




[1] Safety + Health Magazine – OSHA implements new enforcement weighting system

[2] Occupational Safety and Health Administration – U.S. Department of Labor Implements New Weighting System for Workplace Safety and Health Inspections