Effective Strategies for Root Cause Analysis to Minimize OSHA Rapid Response Investigation Risks

Safety.BLR.com

Valerie Butera, a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, authored an article for Safety.BLR.com titled “Effective Strategies for Root Cause Analysis to Minimize OSHA Rapid Response Investigation Risks.”

Following is an excerpt:

Around 40 percent of the newly filed reports have prompted OSHA inspections. Another 46 percent have resulted in what the agency refers to as a “rapid response investigation.” In a rapid response investigation, OSHA contacts the reporting employer and instructs the employer to investigate the root cause of the incident, determine how to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, and report these findings back to OSHA in about a week.

When OSHA is dissatisfied with an employer’s response—such as reports that merely blame the victim—it will proceed to conduct its own inspection of the incident. An important related issue has not yet been resolved by the agency—that is, whether statements made in the investigation report that will result from the employer’s root cause analysis will be used as admissions by OSHA in the event of an enforcement action. Accordingly, now more than ever, it is vital for employers to understand how to conduct an effective root cause analysis and produce an effective investigation report that will help them prevent similar incidents from taking place in the future.