"We keep reading that the law doesn't allow CSHOs to be evaluated based on the number of inspections. Where is that in the law? When you quote it to me, read it closely. Doesn't it say RESULTS of inspections? How does that prohibit being evaluated based on productivity -- as opposed to the percent serious, or the size of penalties, etc., etc., etc.?"OK, here is the text of "Public Law 105-198 - To amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970:"
Section 8 (h) The Secretary shall not use the results of enforcement activities, such as the number of citations issued or penalties assessed, to evaluate employees directly involved in enforcement activities under this Act or to impose quotas or goals with regard to the results of such activities.It took a little searching, but here's the Congressional equivalent of a preamble for that law:
H.R. 2877 would conform the law to current practice. It would prohibit the Secretary of Labor from using the results of enforcement activities, such as the number of citations issued or penalties assessed, to evaluate employees directly involved in enforcement under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. It would also prohibit the Secretary from imposing quotas or goals on employees that are based on the results of enforcement activities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration discontinued using such performance measures and incentives in 1994.I'm guessing here, and it would be nice if a lawyer type could confirm this, but one of the results of an enforcement activity is an inspection. It's pretty clear that the intent of the law is that we not use inspection numbers as part of our evaluation, even if the language isn't as clear as it could be.
Next, in response to a comment by RT, another commenter left this:
I think that JT's method is used by most supervisors. It's sort of how the performance standards are written, or at least what the supervisor has to put in the narrative to justify any rating other than 'Meets.'To which RT responded:
As for the NCFLL wanting objective performance standards, that's a lark. Joe Dear came closest to establishing objective performance standards (i.e. numeric goals) and got throuroughly trounced for it. The NCFLL was the key reason for Kennedy's support of the amendment that prohibits using the number of violations per inspection in the evaluation of CSHOs. That, combined with the number of inspections conducted, may not have been the most perfect evaluation criteria, but at least it was objective.
@ Anon: But numbers aren't necessarily objective. Is a CSHO doing a ton of inspections actually effective, writing good citations and focusing on things to get injury rates down, or just a glorified traffic cop writing tickets for the sake of numbers/generating revenue? I think Kennedy's amendment was concerned with government bureaucrats turning CSHOs into the latter.First, sorry RT, it was my post that lead the commenter use JT, and I'm not sure how I got JT stuck in my head.
@Abel: If the problem with performance review is some ADs will play favorites and/or discriminate, then perhaps the solution is to replace the ADs? :) Easier said than done, I know.
Question about the NCFLL - what objective performance elements have they succeeded in implementing? Or proposed without success?
Second, I agree with the first commenter that there is enough wiggle room in the elements for an AD to adjust the evaluation based on the kind of work a CSHO does, but that also allows ADs who want to help or hurt certain CSHOs the same opportunity.
Third, about what the NCFLL has proposed or been successful with, I'm not sure, I've never been involved in the union activities on a national level and I haven't bothered to keep up with it (I've too much to do already).
Third, changing some ADs might not be a bad idea, but remember "the devil you know..."
Yet another commenter added this:
The problem with using lapse time as a metric is simple. All CSHOs do not do the same type of inspections. In every office, a few of the more qualified staff do more complex inspections. Managers know who these people are and assign them the "beasts." We all know or should at least suspect this.I certainly agree that there are issues with using lapse time, but if we used an algorithm to weigh inspections, then it seems to me we're crossing the line that Public Law 105-198 set. Using inspection results to evaluate a CSHO means I now have an incentive to increase the penalties to an employer to get a significant case or issue Willful violations. And if I'm going to get credit for full-shift sampling, then that's what I'm going to do every time. I'm going to set up the pumps even if the chemical isn't on the complaint and I know there are no exposures, I have an incentive.
Emphasizing lapse time without trying to equilibrate for the variable difficulty of inspections creates a disincentive to do complex work and initiates a rush for the bottom. Instead of wanting the difficult cases and being recognized for the effort, folks begin to clamor over the easy stuff.
It's already happening at the end of each FY. That's why any sane analysis of the inspection numbers should tell you that there are bushels of quick and easy inspections/citations being pursued and turned in quickly to lower the lapse rate at the end of the FY.
IMO, the answer is to create an algorithm that gives different strengths to different types of inspections. Fat/Cats, Wilfull, Jumbo's, Full-shift monitoring, etcetera, could be scored to reflect the increased difficulty level. It's not rocket-science, you wouldn't need mathematicians to do it. Plus, you could incentivize staff to do good, complex work. You can argue over the weighting system, but at least you'd be arguing about real issues instead of assuming something that you already know to be false. All inspections are not created equal.
You can see how much discussion lapse time and number of inspections has generated, imagine if this was a complicated issue.