Using OSHA Information System to Evaluate Data Collected During the Isocyanate National Emphasis Program
(School of Public Health (UMD) MIAEH Master's Student)
The OSHA Information System (OIS) is designed to identify trends in injuries, fatalities, and illnesses, and at risk worker populations. It is known that variability exists in the thoroughness of OIS records; however, it is not known whether the current OIS data can be used in program evaluations. We sought to identify if OIS data were complete enough to evaluate the progress of an agency-wide initiative, the Isocyanate National Emphasis Program (NEP), and whether the OIS data could be used to identify where OSHA’s efforts should be targeted to reduce occupational exposure to isocyanates. Using data found in the compliance safety and health officers’ (CSHOs) case files and on OIS, thirty-five inspections were reviewed to identify industry targets, and to evaluate the presence or absence of information critical to determining the NEP’s progress towards achieving its stated goal. The difference in the quality and types of data on occupational control measures found in the case files and OIS were analyzed by performing a chi-squared analysis. Results indicated that OSHA is targeting 49% of its NEP inspection efforts at medium-sized facilities. Analysis of the types of industries targeted showed that 6% of inspections were conducted in industries where multiple isocyanates are used in various combinations. Chi-squared analyses for engineering and personal protective equipment controls showed a significant difference (p<0.05) between the quality and types of data found in the case files and the OIS; however, for administrative controls the difference was not significant (p = 1.00). OIS data are sufficient for OSHA to identify where its inspection efforts are occurring, yet the data lack an emphasis on industries where exposure to isocyanates is most hazardous. Furthermore, OIS is limited in the type and quality of data regarding occupational control measures, and therefore is not sufficient for occupational exposure assessment.