A Limited Program Evaluation of OSHA's Consultation Services

Timothy D Read, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Cooperative Programs offer a wide variety of services designed to help organizations prevent workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. Through one of those programs, the OSHA Consultation Program, they offer free on-site consultation services. While there are many advertised program benefits, the overall program effectiveness has not been scientifically examined. This research assessed the effectiveness of OSHA’s Consultation Program using a quasi-experimental design. Additionally, the assessment tool OSHA uses during consultation, the Safety and Health Assessment Worksheet - Form 33, was also examined to assess psychometric properties and make recommendations for changes. Using a large, previously unexplored, dataset that included information on all establishments that participated in the OSHA Consultation Program during Fiscal Years 2005-2011, this study looked at the reliability, structural and construct validity of the Form 33 and found it performed well in all areas. The full Form 33, 58 attributes, had high redundancy which enabled us to propose a reduced version, Short-Form 33, which was 33% shorter, 39 attributes. We further looked at this reduced version, Short-Form 33, and found it performed similar to the full version. We also found both versions of the Form 33 had a strong and similar association with lower injury and illness rates for prior and future time periods. For all models, a one unit increase in form scores typically resulted in an approximately 20% reduction in injury and illness rates. OSHA consultation data was matched with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) to do a pilot investigation into overall consultation program effectiveness. Firms participating in the OSHA consultation program were matched by state, establishment size and industry to firms participating in SOII for a national comparison. OSHA consultation establishments had higher injury and illness rates than the overall BLS sample, both at the first and final appearances in the datasets. However, the percentage of change between the first and final appearances of establishments in the corresponding datasets was larger for establishments in the OSHA consultation program than in the overall BLS data by 38%. In summary, this study is a first step in examining the OSHA Consultation Program and its Form 33, plus a proposed Short-Form 33, which was psychometrically derived in this study and shown to perform as well as the longer version. Further, we showed preliminary results suggesting that establishments with higher than BLS injury and illness rates may benefit from participating in the OSHA Consultation Program.

Subject Area

Occupational safety

Recommended Citation

Read, Timothy D, "A Limited Program Evaluation of OSHA's Consultation Services" (2017). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10681490.