Monday, July 20, 2009

Inspection Coding

Does anyone like coding? Does anyone care about coding? I used to assume the answer to both of these questions was an emphatic no. As it turns out, I was wrong.

I'll admit right up front that I'm horrible when it comes to coding. I've been through phases where I've used every code I could find for every inspection, even those codes I knew were out of date. I've also been through streaks where I've coded almost nothing. I've employed both of these extremes out of shear annoyance with the system.

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine in the NO when some how we got around to the topic of coding. I went into my normal rant against the NO and their damned coding. But instead of a sympathetic ear, I got an earful. It turns out that coding isn't so much an exercise in bureaucracy as it is in political and media defense.

We've had an on going discussion on this blog about inspection numbers. I still don't think that inspection numbers are a good measure of how successful we are (or are not) but the fact is that Congress, the White House, and the media understand inspection numbers and not much else. This makes inspection numbers a necessary evil that won't be going away any time soon.

My friend pointed out that bad inspection data only pisses people off, and when Congress, the White House, or the media are pissed off, well, it all hits the fan. And after it hits the fan, we all know it then rolls down hill. How? in the form of another NEP of course.

What does this mean from a practical standpoint? It means I'm going to be more diligent when it comes to coding. I'm not going to spend hours researching coding, but I am going to make an effort.

If we all do this, then just maybe a little less will roll down hill and land on me.


  1. Only OSHA people will understand this, but ARRA time tracking and coding on inspection reports- osha 1s, osha 31s, travel vouchers and peopletime is total BS. Piled higher and higher!

  2. "Total BS" is an understatement. We waste so much time on this and it's so inaccurate, anyways. AND we're duplicating our efforts. Why do we have to code peopletime AND osha 31s? I have seen the osha 31 reports--they show our grade levels and hours spent. So why do it twice? Can the N.O. provide an answer? (Note: I assume these ARRA tracking methods are coming from the National Office because no one who is working making inspections or on any other job directly relating to the field would think that 1) duplicative tracking contributes to job safety and health, 2) we are completing these forms accurately, and 3) these tracking methods actually have any meaning.) The Emperor has no clothes here, folks!! Thanks for coming up with more paperwork to frustrate our efforts to protect workers.

  3. The reason "coding" is necessary is because the IMIS is broken and no one will fix it. A new system has been promised for over a decade - that's right DECADE. This system isn't even "Y2K" compliant(remember that one, the system does).

    Why has no one fixed it? Because no one in Washington DC or the Regional Offices uses it. But the field continues to use more "codes".

  4. Garbage In, Garbage Out!!

  5. ABEL

    You will know what this is in reference to.

    REC Relevent Event Code
    "A" stands for Accident

    It's been around for a long time.

    Abel you need to pull out the old IMIS manual and look it up. I bet your supervisor is going behind your back and putting the code in for you when you have violations that are relevent to the reason for the inspection. i.e. complaint, referral or accident

  6. I'm not going to defend our current IMIS system because, well because it sucks. But the NO does use IMIS, they don't enter data, but they do search it.

    Talk about a brain cramp, of course REC is Relevant Event Code. I knew that. Know that. Wow. Don't laugh, one day you'll get old too.

  7. Abel
    ARRA is a new acronym you need to list on right side here in your alphabetical list. Gotta keep up you know! "CHANGE" is here!(if you need help on what it means, ask your supervisor)

  8. How about also adding the definition for the acronym "TARP"?

  9. TARP isn't really a S&H thing, but for all I know the discrimination investigators might have a role, so OK, it's done (I know next to nothing about the discrimination investigations OSHA does).