While OSHA has not fully enacted the new Enforcement Weighting System for FY2016, it has revealed some of the intentions in an internal memo released recently. It appears that the number crunchers continue to run this regulatory branch and the inspectors keep getting left with the short end of the stick if they spend too long at one location.
The new system will encourage inspectors to tackle the more serious offenses and to spend as much time as possible on the serious cases. As a byproduct, this means that inspectors might be encouraged to make an inspection more serious than it needs to be to get the Enforcement Credits (EC's) they need to move up the inspector ranks. Here is how it will work from the OSHA website:
Federal Agency Inspections - 2 EUs
Process Safety Management Inspections - 7 EUs
Combustible Dust Inspections - 2 EUs
Ergonomic Hazard Inspections - 5 EUs
Heat Hazard Inspections - 4 EUs
Non-PEL Exposure Hazard Inspections - 3 EUs
Workplace Violence Hazard Inspections - 3 EUs
Fatality / Catastrophe Inspections - 3 EUs
Personal Sampling Inspections - 2 EUs
Significant Cases - 8 EUs
Non-formal Complaint Investigations - 1/9 EU
Rapid Response Investigations - 1/9EU
It appears to me that you are going to see a lot more inspections dealing with PSM (#2), Ergonomics (always a mystery at #4), and significant cases (whatever that means at #10) so the inspectors can get more credit for visiting less places. It is encouraging that a minor compliant will not get the same attention as a death case but I am concerned with what the unintended consequenses will be for this change.
Indigo will continue to keep you up to date as further details emerge. Remember dealing with these matters before OSHA comes into your facility is always easier than after.