OSHA Carceral Facilities
Incarcerated people are vulnerable to environmental hazards, infectious diseases, and poor living and working conditions. This project examines how data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can be used to examine hazardous conditions inside prisons. We pulled together OSHA data for California correctional facilities from 2010 to 2019.
Explore the Table!
The table provides several data points from which you can evaluate the level of toxicity or hazard in California carceral facilities. We encourage you to think about what toxicity and hazard mean to you and play with the data by sorting each column from highest to lowest and using the search bars under each column header to filter the data to show specific amounts or types of citations.
About detail about the data:
This table was created using data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Code to reproduce the underlying data and the table are available on Github. Data include inspections that were finished or that still remained open between 2010 and 2019. Most of the data present in the table are as reported by OSHA which means that there may be errors in facility location or other fields that are unverified. Each row in the table is a facility that was investigated by OSHA one or more times. The inspection numbers and the number of inspections column provides insight into the number of times the facility was investigated from 2010 to 2019. Facilities may not have had any violations found during investigations. If the value in the Number of Violations column is zero then no violation was reported. If you want to check out OSHA’s published report for each investigation, you can search the investigation number on the OSHA website.
More Detail about each data point in the table:
Within OSHA’s available data we identified the following data points as potentially helpful for understanding toxicity and hazard in carceral facilities.
- Standards Cited - presented are all standards cited by OSHA as being potentially violated. You can search specific standard numbers here.
- Any Reported Hazardous Substances - all hazardous substances as reported in the OSHA data.
- Number of Inspections - a count of the total number of times inspected.
- Number of Violations - the total number of reported violations from all inspections.
- Total Number of Citation Instances - in addition to reporting a violation, OSHA also reports the number of instances or times the violation was present. This is the total number of all instances reported for any violation cited.
- Total Days all Inspections Open - this is the total number of days from when the investigation was opened to when it was closed. We also include the Average Number of Days all Inspections Open.
- Gravity - is the basis for OSHA’s penalty calculations. We provide a count of the total number of low, moderate, and high gravity violations.
- Violation Type - OSHA reports four violation types. We report a count of the total number of each type, except for willful violations which were not reported for any facilities.
- Other than serious - is “A violation that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but is not serious in nature, is classified as "other-than-serious."
- Serious - “A serious violation exists when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm, unless the employer did not know or could not have known of the violation.”
- Repeated - “A Federal agency may be cited for a repeated violation if the agency has been cited previously for the same or a substantially similar condition and, for a serious violation...within the past five years.”
- Willful - “A willful violation is defined as a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.”
- Total Ever Exposed - reports the total number of people reported to be exposed from all violations cited. We also include the Average Number of People in the Facility (as reported by OSHA) as a point of reference.
- Penalties. We report several penalty data points including:
- Total Initial Penalty that the facility was assigned for each violation. We also report the Average Initial Penalty.
- Total Current Penalty is the total amount the facility actually paid for each violation cited. Facilities can appeal the penalty amount or the violation. We also include the Average Current Penalty.
- Failure to Abate - is the total amount of penalty assigned to a facility for failing to remove the violation.
- Union Status. We report the total number of times a union was present during the investigation(s). And the number of times the union was not present.
- Investigation Reasons. We report the total number of investigations that took place for various reasons including: there was an Accident, there was a Complaint, OSHA received a Referral from another agency, the investigation was a Follow Up, and if the investigation was Unprogrammed or Planned.
- Investigation Scope. We report the total number of investigations that were Complete or Partial in scope.