OSHA asking for your views on health and safety

Coming to an email box near you soon: OSHA will conduct a wide-ranging survey of employer health and safety practices beginning this month.


The OSHA survey will be sent to about 19,000 health and safety professionals and will culminate in a nine-month process to get the survey and its funding approved.

The Baseline Survey of Safety and Health Practices will be sent to private sector employers of all sizes and across all industries under OSHA’s jurisdiction. Questions include whether respondents already have a safety management system, whether they perform annual inspections, who manages safety at their establishments and what kinds of hazards they encounter at their facilities.

Participants can either complete the online survey or get a paper copy sent to them. The research group conducting the survey will have results returned to OSHA by August 2011, one year after the intent to conduct the survey was first announced.

CFE Media asked OSHA officials about the study and what the goals of this new outreach will be:

CFE: What is OSHA’s timeframe for reporting the results?

OSHA has not yet announced a deadline for the first reporting of results. The survey itself will conclude in August.

CFE: What are the expected outcomes? How does OSHA intend to use the results to improve workplace health and safety?

OSHA believes the survey will be useful in providing a better idea to everyone in the occupational safety and health community concerning how occupational safety and health is managed and what hazards are perceived by employers across industries and sizes of firms. OSHA will use the data to more accurately estimate the costs and paperwork burdens of regulation and to better design and direct outreach and guidance efforts.

CFE: Have there been past surveys that would help benchmark this new data?

OSHA collected similar data in a 1993 survey in order to develop a baseline of safety and health practices. About 3,500 establishments were surveyed. OSHA will consider this date to assess historical change. However, the 2011 survey was designed to collect data for what OSHA’s needs to know today and tomorrow rather than as an attempt to estimate historical progress. OSHA may use similar surveys in the future to assess regulatory and outreach efforts.

CFE: How could those people who want to let their views be known on occupational health and safety do that if they don’t get the survey mailed to them?

The survey is designed as a mechanism for collecting facts about industries and firms in statistically valid way—it is not intended for the collection of data on stakeholder views or opinions. The participants were selected at random from a database of millions of establishments.

For more information about the survey and to view a copy, visit http://www.osha.gov/national-survey/national-survey-announcementbaseline-survey.html. 

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