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Characteristics of employee-initiated complaint inspections occurring in Wisconsin

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Author(s)
Nicks, Michael
Advisor(s)
Wang, Hong
Date
May 20, 2009
Subject(s)
United States. Occupational Safety and Health Administration--Rules and practice; Complaints (Administrative procedure)--Wisconsin--Evaluation; Labor inspection--Wisconsin
Abstract
To ensure that U.S. employers protect employees from occupational hazards, OSHA is authorized to conduct workplace inspections. Employees have the legal right to initiate an OSHA inspection predicated on occupational hazards. The study employed a survey research design utilizing data from OSHA?s IMIS. The sample consisted of 304 programmed inspections and 285 employee-initiated complaint inspections in the state of Wisconsin for the period of June 23, 2006 to June 23, 2007, inclusive. Five independent variables were examined: 1) type of inspection, 2) establishment union status, 3) establishment size, 4) type of complaint inspection, and 5) the establishment SIC code. Six dependent variables were examined: 1) mean number of violations per inspection, 2) mean monetary penalty per violation, 3) mean monetary penalty per inspection, 4) mean number of hours spent on inspection activities, 5) mean percent monetary penalty reduction, and 6) mean percent informal conference participation. It was hypothesized that there would be significant differences between each level of each independent variable with reference to each dependent variable. It was found that the mean informal conference participation percentage was significantly higher for programmed inspections (87.8%) than for employee-initiated complaint inspections (80.8%). It was found that the mean number of hours spent on inspection activities was significantly higher at unionized establishments (39.3 hours) than non-unionized establishments (29.4 hours). It was found that small establishments (less than 100 employees) had a significantly higher mean number of violations per inspection (6.5 violations) and significantly lower mean monetary penalties per violation ix ($302.53) than medium-sized establishments (between 100 and 500 employees) [2.7 violations and $578.59, respectively] and large establishments (more than 500 employees) [2.0 violations and $527.13, respectively] and that large establishments had significantly lower mean percent monetary penalty reductions (47.3%) than small establishments (34.8%). It was found that the mean number of violations per inspection was significantly higher for employee-initiated health-complaint inspections (4.8 violations) than for employee-initiated safety-complaint inspections (3.5 violations), that the mean monetary penalty per violation was significantly higher for employee-initiated safety-complaint inspections ($568.64) than for employee-initiated health-complaint inspections ($278.23), and that the mean number of hours spent on inspection activities was significantly higher for employee-initiated health-complaint inspections (37.5 hours) than for employee-initiated safety-complaint inspections (27.8 hours). It was found that manufacturing establishments had significantly lower mean percent monetary penalty reductions (35.2%) than transportation, communications, electric, gas, and sanitary services establishments (63.9%) and that retail trade establishments had significantly lower mean percent monetary penalty reductions (35.1%) than transportation, communications, electric, gas, and sanitary services establishments (63.9%). A qualitative comparison was utilized to construct possible strategies to prevent or mitigate employee-initiated complaints for the three independent variables that can easily be influenced by an employer: type of inspection, union status, and type of employee-initiated complaint inspection.
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Date original created: Nov. 14, 2008. This file was last viewed in Adobe Reader 8.0.
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http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1793/34709 
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