The Workplace Safety database from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has just been updated in the NICAR Database Library.

WHAT’S IN IT?

This ten-table database holds information on workplace inspections performed by both federal and state OSHA offices in all states and U.S. territories, from 1972 to Oct 2011 – just under 4 million records.

OSHA classifies businesses by their location, name and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), making it possible to analyze inspections, violations and accidents involving a certain occupation or those in a given region or city. The data also include details on the types of injuries that occurred during an accident, and whether or not any hazardous materials were involved.

Penalties for violations are recorded in several ways, including the fine amount initially assessed, the current penalty reflecting any modifications, and what was actually paid (or not paid, if that’s the case).

WHAT FORMAT?

The data come in both CSV and SQL files; the SQL file is intended for MySQL users. We’re happy to help you get the data into whatever program you use, contact us for help: (573) 884-7711 or [email protected].

State slices are available.

To order the data, visit our online store at https://www.ire.org/nicar/database-library/databases/osha-workplace-safety-data/ or email/phone NICAR at [email protected], (573) 884-7711.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

WHAT CAN I DO WITH IT?

Here are just a few examples of the work that’s been done using OSHA data:

  • When Workers Die
    The New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for its investigation of workplace deaths, relying in part on OSHA workplace inspection data. Among The Times’ findings, in what it called “the first systematic accounting of how this nation confronts employers who kills workers by deliberately violating workplace safety laws” — was that the U.S. rarely seeks charges for workplace deaths.
  • Dangerous Business
    These stories investigate companies where workers have died due to the negligence of their employers. As the investigations revealed many of these companies did not adhere to the safety regulations set up by OSHA. These articles reveal that five officials from McWane Inc. one of the companies that was investigated were later indicted. The reporters describe OSHA as “a toothless tiger” that does not always take these companies to task.

  • OSHA penalties: A double standard
    A Free Lance-Star investigation reveals that state government agencies are among the most common violators of worker safety standards, but – unlike private bodies – they never get fined. The story lists the top violators in the Fredericksburg, VA area in the last 25 years. The No. 1 local violator over this time period is Keller Industries, a private company that stopper operating in 1996, and No. 2 is the Virginia Department of Transportation. Among the top ten violators are also the City of Fredericksburg and the County of Stafford. “Virginia is one of eight state-run OSHA programs that never fine governments for violations,” the Star reports. The article includes a table of the most common injuries and sources of injury.

  • Death on the Job
    “Immigrants face workplace hazards with alarming frequency, especially in NY state”. A 5-part Newsday investigation found that New York has the nation’s highest rate of immigrants killed in the workplace and government agencies routinely fail to investigate deaths, enforce laws and provide timely compensation for victims and their families.

  • Who’s Protecting Whom
    A computer-assisted investigation reveals a shocking pattern of lax enforcement at the agency charged with protecting worker safety.Multiple examples show that OSHA is reducing fines 99% of the time, collecting only 33 cents on the dollar. The story of Patrick Hayes, killed in a corn silo, was chosen to highlight how OSHA can save on fines and criminal prosecutions, despite findings of deliberate violations of worker safety. (Aug. 1, 1995) See Handout entry #479 for more information on Hayes case and FOIA problems encountered.

  • Discounted lives
    The KC Star analyze the Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection database for the Kansas City metropolitan area, reviewed public records and interviewed more than 100 people in order to determine how well OSHA protects workers. The study found that OSHA fines employees in workers’ deaths less than it should and downgrades its most serious violations in workers’ deaths, hurting workers who are trying to sue employees. OSHA is behind in its safety standards.

-The Database Library team