Effectiveness of Compliance Activities

There is growing evidence that regulatory interventions can improve occupational health and safety outcomes. Tompa et al. (2016) found strong evidence that inspections with penalties result in a decrease in injuries at the inspected establishment.

In this project, we look at changes in workers’ compensation claims rates and costs for Washington employers that have either a Washington State Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) inspection (with or without citation) or a voluntary consultation.

Our goal is to answer the following questions:

  • Do enforcement inspections and consultation visits affect claims incidence rates?
  • Does the impact differ by type of injury?
  • Do enforcement inspections that result in citations have a greater impact than those without citations?
  • What impact do enforcement inspections and consultation visits have on claims costs?

Since 2002, we have conducted annual analyses of the association between DOSH enforcement and consultation activities and compensable claims rates at the visited workplaces. Based on inclusion criteria, we are able to evaluate the effect of about 15% of all DOSH visits. State fund companies with a single business location and at least 10 full time equivalent (FTE) workers are included in the study.

In 2011, we pooled ten previous annual studies together covering inspections and consultations from 1999 through 2008. With the much larger number of DOSH visits in the pooled study, we were able to estimate the impact of DOSH visits with greater statistical confidence. The results of the pooled analysis provide strong evidence that DOSH inspection and consultation activities make a significant contribution to reducing claims rates and costs in the period following the visit (Foley et al., 2012).


Technical Reports

DOSH Compliance Effectiveness in Washington State, 2021-2022

Additional Resources

SHARP Stats: Injury Claims after Inspection, 2018 to 2019

SHARP Stats: DOSH Inspection Effectiveness

SHARP Stats: DOSH Consultation Effectiveness

SHARP Stats: Injury Claims after Inspection

Journal Articles

Foley M, Fan ZJ, Rauser E and Silverstein B (2012). The impact of regulatory enforcement and consultation visits on workers' compensation claims incidence rates and costs, 1999–2008. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. DOI: 10.1002/ajim.22084 |  Research Findings

Tompa E, Kalcevich C, Foley M, McLeod C, Hogg‐Johnson S, Cullen K, MacEachen E, Mahood Q and Irvin E (2016). A systematic literature review of the effectiveness of occupational health and safety regulatory enforcement. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. DOI: 10.1002/ajim.22605 |  Research Findings