Cruelest Cuts

How the Observer analyzed OSHA data

Facts on workplace safety inspections, violations and penalties came from data kept by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Observer relied primarily on a database detailing more than 238,000 OSHA inspections in poultry and other manufacturing industries from 1997 through 2006, and the more than 965,000 citations that resulted from those inspections.

The Observer also obtained paper documents concerning hundreds of OSHA inspections and citations at poultry plants.

Figures on serious workplace violations cited by OSHA are based on the three most serious categories of OSHA violations. These include violations involving a substantial probability of death or serious injury, violations intentionally committed and repeat violations.

Counts of OSHA violations include citations that are eventually dropped during the settlement process.