Chairman Thomasina V. Rogers announced the unanimous vote of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to extend and make permanent a pilot program requiring settlement talks in cases where employers face high penalties (See Press Release 00-2). The program is being implemented consistent with design and participants in the program are satisfied with the program requirements and implementation.

To foster continued success of the program, the Review Commission intends to continue to provide critical management support for the program, evaluate the program, and establish benchmarks. In this regard, below is an outline of management efforts we will consider.

Management and Administrative Initiatives to Support
Settlement Part Implementation

I. Plan for Ongoing Evaluation

A. Plan and prepare for subsequent evaluation of settlement part program, including performance benchmarks and indicators (See discussion of Settlement Part benchmarks, below)

- Review current survey instruments and modify them for later use

- Consistently collect and measure data for future evaluations, including new indicators

- Develop future mechanisms to immediately capture and measure participant satisfaction

- Explore further the mandatory nature of the process

II. Establish Benchmarks for Settlement Part (Note - performance indicators should also be developed after careful consideration of the chosen benchmarks)

A. Time - Goal: Process Settlement Part cases within a certain period of time, considering the need to settle a certain percent of cases within specified periods of time, measuring the median days for which settlements are achieved after settlement conferences

- For cases over a certain dollar amount reduce median number of days for case processing at various intervals

- Set median rate of settlement conferences occurring in within a certain number of days

- Set median number of days between holding of settlement conferences to reaching settlement agreement

- Identify a certain percent of settlements that should occur within a specific time period

- Increase by a certain percent the settlements that occur during FY 2000-2002 and measure to see whether settlements increase

B. Settlement Part Rates - Goal: Settle cases disposed of more quickly or at least at the same rate as conventional cases disposed of under conventional procedures

- Settle a certain percent of cases over $200,000 assigned to SP

- Narrow the issues for a certain percent of cases over $200,000 assigned to SP

C. Costs and Workload - Goal: Track costs and workload to measure whether the costs and workload of this program burden the agency judges and staff

- Track the time spent on settlement part conferences and other workload data and develop appropriate interim benchmark

D. Data Collection and Case Tracking/Management System - Goal: Ensure that data needs have been identified and captured to enable monitoring and future evaluations

- Set date to determine data collection needs

- Set date to review data base schema to assess capability for data needs initially and periodically

- Set date for completion of documentation of standards including coding manual or crib sheets (quick reference), standard templates and report forms

- Set date for completion of training session for data entry staff

- Set date to develop custom reports

- Publish reports on a monthly basis for appropriate agency officials

III. Other Administrative Actions

A. Improve data entry requirements for all system users and managers

- Create standard definitions and terms for dissemination to all users

- Create standard document entry forms for all users

- Train users on entering information and managers on auditing electronic records

- Implement Quality Assurance measures

- Explore the acquisition of equipment and software necessary to implement more effective case tracking for agency programs

B. Develop guidelines or other criteria for settlement judges to determine appropriate timing of their discretionary power to set the time of the settlement conference

C. Provide various mediation training options for all settlement judges

D. Improve availability and quality of information for all settlement case participants

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