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Performance Report

 

Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission

 Annual Performance Report

Fiscal Year (FY) 2000

Report Overview

 The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 requires Federal agencies to submit a program performance report to the President and Congress not later than March 31, 2000 for FY 1999 and no later than March 31 of each year thereafter. The Review Commission's Annual Program Performance Report (APPR) for FY 2000 was prepared in accordance with guidance contained in OMB Circular No. A-11, which explains the requirements of the GPRA. We submit this report in compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

In September 1997, the Review Commission developed a Strategic Plan which built upon its progress since 1994. The agency's Strategic Plan provided details on specific goals and objectives for fiscal years 1997 through 2002. The agency's FY 2000 Annual Performance Plan (APP) incorporated the goals and objectives included in the 1997 Strategic Plan. This APPR reports on those goals and objectives included in the 1997 Strategic Plan (1) and APP for FY 2000.

During FY 2000, the Review Commission met 80 percent of the FY 2000 goals set forth in its FY 2000 APP.(2) The agency performed well in the areas of conventional case settlement disposition, assignment of cases to the E-Z Trial and Settlement Part programs, external communications, information technology enhancements, employee and management development programs, and quality business processing improvements. We did not meet our adjudication cycle time goals for cases that proceeded to hearing at the trial level or were directed for review by the Commissioners. However, the Commission resolved some of the oldest (and often most complex) cases on its docket, cases which had already far surpassed the 325-day cycle time goal by the beginning of the fiscal year. We also missed, by a slight margin, our goal of reducing the percent of settlements at the trial level that exceed the one year cycle time.

There continue to be a variety of factors that affect our ability to meet our cycle time goals. These include: (1) continued presence of a quorum or third member at the Commission level; (2) the magnitude and nature of the cases received at the Review Commission; (3) the success of the parties' settlement negotiations and the agency's settlement process initiatives (Settlement Part) in reducing the number of hearings needed; and (4) the number, location, length and complexity of trials held. Although these factors are largely outside the Review Commission's control, the Strategic Plan and the APP acknowledge that the Review Commission is committed to working within such constraints to improve its service to the public.

In order to mitigate the impact of these factors on the agency's performance, in FY 2001 the Review Commission revised its FY 2001 Performance Plan. The revision was made based on performance data for fiscal years 1999 and 2000 and to make it consistent with the revised Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2000-2005. The Revised Final Performance Plan reflects a change in the measurement of our Public Service Goals (P1, P2, P4, P5, P6, P7). We changed our performance indicators from "reducing cycle time" to "increasing the percent of cases" adjudicated by our administrative law judges and Commissioners. We also put the adjudication of older and/or more complex cases on separate time frames from the new or less complex cases. These changes were necessary because the profile of our cases and the adjudication mix between the more complex cases and the less complex cases at the trial and appellate levels were not conducive to a progressive reduction of cycle time, contrary to what the Review Commission had predicted in 1997. (3) Moreover, because of the lack of a quorum and third member at the Commission level during fiscal year 1998 and part of fiscal 1999, the age of pending cases continued to grow. This created a disincentive to resolve such old cases in order to meet the cycle time goal. The revised final performance plan goals will more appropriately facilitate the Review Commission's ability to carry out its statutory mandate and reflect its objective of disposing of all cases in a timely manner.

While we did not meet all our FY 2000 APP goals, there was overall improvement in performance compared to FY 1999. In fact, the agency met 80 percent of its goals in FY 2000 as compared to 68 percent in FY 1999.

A summary comparing the FY 2000 target level of performance for each performance indicator with the actual level of performance follows this report overview. The report provides the background and the 1997 mission and vision statements of the Review Commission. Consistent with GPRA requirements, we have also summarized the program evaluations completed during this fiscal year. The performance report section is organized by strategic goal. An introductory section under each goal summarizes the FY 2000 performance for that goal and defines the strategic objective and target.

A complete copy of the Review Commission's 1997 Strategic Plan and Revised Strategic Plan may be obtained at our website, www.oshrc.gov.



REPORT SUMMARY

 

PERFORMANCE TARGET

MET/UNMET

ACTUAL PERFORMANCE

P1 - CYCLE TIME FOR CONVENTIONAL TRIED CASES- issue 90% of decisions within 325 days

UNMET

58% of decisions issued within 325 days

P2 - CYCLE TIME FOR CONVENTIONAL SETTLEMENTS -settle within 180 days

MET

settled within 159 days

P3 -PERCENT SETTLEMENTS EXCEEDING 1 YEAR CYCLE TIME --2%

UNMET

2.77% exceeded one year

P4 - COMMISSION REVIEW CYCLE TIME - issue 95% of decision within 325 days

UNMET

31% of decisions issued within 325 days

P5 -CYCLE TIME FOR E-Z TRIAL - issue decisions within 160 DAYS

UNMET

issued decisions within 176 days

P6 - PERCENT OF CASES DESIGNATED AS E-Z TRIAL -30%

MET

assigned 39%

P7 - NUMBER OF SETTLEMENT PART CASES - 20

MET

assigned 42 cases

P8 - NUMBER OF CHANGES IN STRUCTURE/FORMAT - 1

MET

1 change

P9 - AVAILABILITY OF DECISIONS/PUBLICATIONS ON WEB

MET

increased the number of decisions and enhanced website appearance and search capabilities

P10 - DEVELOP E-Z TRIAL TAPE -1

MET

modified tape

P11 - NUMBER OF ISSUANCES AND UPDATES OF CD -ROMS- 1

MET

2 CD-ROMS issued

P12 - ENHANCE COMMUNICATION ACTIVITIES WITH STATE ADJUDICATORS

MET

improved website links and held forum

P13 - NUMBER OF BIENNIAL REPORT - 1

MET

1 report

P14 - COMPLETION OF CASE MANAGEMENT/TRACKING - pretest/pilot electronically stored legal documents

MET

pretest completed and pilot initiated

P15 - COMPLETE WIDE AREA NETWORK /IMPROVE REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS

MET

upgraded network and improved regional communications

P16 - UPGRADE DESKTOP MEMORY

MET IN FY 1999

completed in FY 1999

P17 - FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM - Assess

MET

assessed

P18 - DELIVER TRAINING - average 40 hours per employee

MET

employees received an average of 56.2 hours training

P19 - REVISE PERFORMANCE PLANS, AS NEEDED

MET

revised plans as needed

P20 - PERCENT OF EMPLOYEES RECEIVE QUALITY TRAINING - 20%

MET

41% of employees trained

P21- NUMBER OF BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT TEAMS -2

MET

2 teams



Background of the Review Commission


The Review Commission is an independent, adjudicatory agency created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Its sole statutory mandate is to serve as an administrative court providing just and expeditious resolution of disputes involving the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers charged with violations of Federal safety and health standards, and employees and/or their representatives. The Review Commission was created by Congress as an agency completely independent of the Department of Labor to ensure that OSHA's enforcement actions are carried out in accordance with the law and that all parties are treated consistent with due process should a dispute arise.

Employers contesting citations are entitled to a hearing before the Review Commission's Administrative Law Judges (ALJ). The Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Review Commission's Rules of Procedure provide two levels of adjudication when an employer timely contests an OSHA citation for alleged violations of the Act or failure to abate alleged violations. The first is a trial level which affords an opportunity for a hearing before a Review Commission ALJ. The judge's decision becomes final unless the Commission reviews the decision. The second level is a discretionary appellate review of the judge's decision by the Commission's members. The Review Commission has three members, appointed by the President and subject to Senate confirmation, who serve six year terms. Both before its judges and the Commissioners, the Review Commission provides fair and impartial adjudication of cases concerning the safety and health of employees' working conditions in the United States.

The principal (national) office of the Review Commission is located in Washington, D.C. There are also regional offices in Atlanta and Denver where some of the Review Commission's ALJs and staff are assigned.

1997 Mission Statement


The mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission is to provide fair and timely adjudication of workplace safety and health disputes between the Department of Labor and employers. In doing this, the Review Commission plays a vital role in encouraging safe and healthy workplaces for American workers.

1997 Vision Statement


The Review Commission should be a world class judicial Commission -- one with an impeccable reputation for objectivity, evenhandedness, promptness, and professionalism. It should be a model federal agency with highly effective processes, a highly motivated and diverse workforce and modern information management, communications, and financial management systems. Finally, the Review Commission should be an agency that values and develops its people and constantly strives to improve its performance, and its value and service to the American people.

Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Goals


In 1997, the Review Commission established goals to effectively accomplish its mission -- to provide fair and timely adjudication of work place safety and health disputes between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and employers charged with violations of federal safety and health standards; some cases also involve employees or their union representatives. We defined two broad external goals to improve the agency's service to and its communication with its stakeholders and the public, and three operational goals, critical to the overall mission performance of the agency.

Public Service Goal

To assure the ready availability of fair, user friendly and timely adjudication of all disputes brought before the Commission and its judges and achieve a high level of readability and quality in Commission legal decisions.

External Communications Goal

To significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of communications between the Commission and the public, its customers and other stakeholders.

Information Technology Goal

To capitalize on recent investments in modern computer hardware and software to increase organizational effectiveness, operate more efficiently and better serve internal and external customers.

Human Resource Management Goal

To build a highly motivated, diverse workplace by developing a first class human resource management system, including highly effective affirmative action, recruitment, training, award, and performance management processes.

Quality Improvement Goal

To develop and institutionalize a process for continuous quality improvement.


Performance Indicators

For each strategic goal and its related objectives, the Review Commission formulated numerical performance measures and annual targets, whenever possible. A few measures are necessarily qualitative in nature. Cycle times are the measurements for several objectives contained in our Public Service Goal. The cycle times, number of cases assigned to E-Z Trial, number of cases assigned to Settlement Part (SP), and number of settlements exceeding one year are tracked by our case management/tracking system. In order to assure the quality of the data we review the information in the case management/tracking system periodically. We conduct test runs of the data to ensure that information is entered and updated ona timely basis. The appropriate management official analyzes the data and ensures the accuracy of test runs and of the reports produced.

Program Evaluation


In FY 2000, the Review Commission contracted for the professional services of evaluators of alternative dispute resolution programs to assess the effectiveness of the Review Commission's SP pilot. The SP pilot was effective on February 19, 1999. (4) 

 The objective of the pilot was to encourage quicker settlement in large and complex cases. These cases are likely to take more than two years to resolve under our conventional process.

The evaluation of the pilot focused on issues of implementation, settlement rate, time, participant satisfaction and costs. Responses were received from internal stakeholders and external participants. Archival data was also reviewed and analyzed. The evaluation yielded the following results:

  • the SP program is being implemented consistent with design (e.g., cases referred to it are appropriate and complex)
  • the SP promotes settlement discussion and is likely to result in earlier settlements
  • the SP does not delay or obstruct settlements and is not burdensome (e.g., requiring the presence of someone with full authority is practical/appropriate, the mandatory process is appropriate)
  • the majority of the stakeholders are satisfied with SP (e.g., requirements of the program, fairness of process, treatment of the parties, control of the case)
  • the SP cases take about the same time to process even though they are more complex

During the pilot period, more than 90 percent of cases that had come to final disposition were settled. In cases that did not settle, the parties reported that the number of issues in contention had been reduced. The evaluators noted however, that a longer study may be needed to measure the impact on judicial workload, analyze settlement rates, and obtain a cost baseline.

On September 25, 2000, the Commissioners unanimously voted to make the SP pilot project permanent. Ongoing evaluations of the project will take place periodically.

Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Report


Public Service Goal

To assure the ready availability of fair, user friendly and timely adjudication of all disputes brought before the Commission and its judges and achieve a high level of eadability and quality in Commission legal decisions.

Summary of FY 2000 Actual Performance: The Review Commission met four of the eight performance targets set for this goal.


P1. Public Service Indicator #1: Average cycle time for conventionally tried cases.

Definition: We plan to reduce the cycle time for conventionally heard ALJ cases to less than a year as measured by the number of days from assignment to a judge to the date a decision is filed with the Executive Secretary. Because some very complex cases will necessarily take more than one year, the goal is to close 90 percent of conventionally tried cases within 325 days.

FY 2000 Target: Complete 90 percent of cases within 325 days from the date of assignment to a judge, down from 350 days in FY 1999.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: No.

Discussion: Fifty-eight percent of conventionally tried cases closed within 325 days. The average cycle time for these cases was 315 days, a reduction from 357 days in FY 1999.

Ninety-three percent of the cases that exceeded the target were complex cases. (5)

 Seven percent of the cases that did not meet the 325 cycle time were delayed from being adjudicated because they were scheduled to be adjudicated in remote locations, such as the Pacific Islands, where cases are grouped and held in abeyance to conserve judicial resources. The average cycle time for all of these cases was 488 days. The proper adjudication of all the issues in these cases could not be handled within the projected 325 days.

Because the profile of our cases requires the adjudication of both complex cases and the less complex cases, we have changed our FY 2001 performance targets for this goal to account for the adjudication of more complex cases on a separate time frame from the less complex cases.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Cycle time in days

Goal

90% in

 400

days or less

90% in

375

days or less

90% in

350

days or less

90% in

 325

 days or less

Cases meeting cycle time goal

Actual

62

79

83

55

Percent meeting cycle time goal

Actual

79%

59%

67%

58%

Average cycle time for cases issued

Actual

325 days

393 days

357 days

315 days

P2. Public Service Indicator #2: Cycle time for conventional case settlements.

Definition: We plan to maintain the average cycle time for conventional ALJ cases disposed of without a hearing to less than 180 days. Cycle time is the number of days from the date of docketing to the date the decision is filed with the Executive Secretary for cases closed during the fiscal year.

    FY 2000 Target: Maintain the cycle time of 180 days

 TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: We substantially exceeded our goal, achieving an average cycle time for conventional ALJ case settlements of 159 days from the date of docketing to closure.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Cycle time in days

Goal

180

180

180

180

Actual

151

158

155

159

Number of cases settled

Actual

1,307

1,607

1,494

1,657

P3. Public Service Indicator #3: Percent of settlements exceeding one year cycle time.

Definition: We plan to virtually eliminate cases that take more than one year to settle. Cycle time is measured from the date of notice of docketing to the date the decision is filed. We will track the percentage of cases closed without a hearing for which cycle time exceeds one year.

  • FY 2000 Target: No more than 2 percent of the cases closed without a hearing take more than one year from docketing, down from 3 percent in FY 1999.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: No.

Discussion: For FY 2000, 2.77 percent of settled cases were open longer than a year.We failed to meet this target by 14 cases. In terms of number of cases, this is a small margin. The performance goal was set at an approximate level and the deviation from that level is slight. There was no effect on overall program or activity performance. In fact, when we discount the cases that originated from remote locations and the cases that were stayed from processing pending ongoing federal criminal proceedings, we meet our goal of 2%. It should also be noted that we had a considerable increase in the number of cases that settled this year. There was a 19 percent increase in cases that settled in FY 2000 compared to FY 1999.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Percent exceeding

one year

Goal

10%

5%

3%

2%

Actual

5%

4%

3%

2.77%

Number of cases

settled in one year

Actual

1,681

2,125

2,023

2,416

P4. Public Service Indicator #4: Commission review cycle time.

Definition: The Commission plans to reduce the cycle time to less than a year for most cases reviewed at the Commission level, measured as the number of days from direction for review by a Commissioner to the date a decision is issued. Because a few cases involve extremely complex issues and staff effort beyond what is reasonable to expect in a one year period, the goals are set for 95 percent of all cases closed in each fiscal year.

 

  • FY 2000 Target: Issue decision within 325 days for most cases (95 percent), down from 350 days in FY 1999.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: No.

Discussion: Thirty-one percent of decisions were issued within 325 days of the case being directed for review. These cycle time numbers do not reflect the Commission's commitment during fiscal year 2000 to resolve some of the oldest (and often most complex) cases on its docket, cases which had already far surpassed the 325-day cycle time goal by the beginning of the fiscal year. Indeed, an examination of the cases issued in FY 2000 in excess of the 325-day cycle time goal highlights our successful undertaking to retire the oldest cases on the Commission's docket. For example, the Commission issued Kaspar Wire Works and twoManganas Painting cases during the fiscal year and, shortly thereafter, in October of 2000, the Commission issued A.J. McNulty, two A.E. Staley Manufacturing cases, New York State Electric & Gas, and five BeverlyEnterprises cases. Each of these cases had been pending before the Review Commission for more than four years. It should be noted that although the decisions in the latter nine cases were issued in FY 2001, significant work had been done preparing these cases in FY 2000. In summary, between July and October of 2000, the Commission issued twelve cases with a cumulative age at the Commission level of 57 years.

One of the reasons the Commission did not meet its goal is because of Commission vacancies, especially in FY 1998 and early FY 1999. During that time, new cases came in, but very few decisions were issued. In fact, at the beginning of FY 2000, more than 50 cases were older than two years, and a large percentage of these cases were older than four years. The issuance of 36 cases in FY 2000 reflects an effort to balance decision making between prompt disposition of the new cases and the resolution of the older cases that could not have been issued within the FY 2000 goal of 325 days. We have changed our FY 2001 performance targets for this goal to reflect our strategy of balancing the disposition of new and older cases.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Cycle time in days

Goal

95% in

 400 days

or less

95% in

375 days or less

95% in

350 days or less

95% in

 325 days or less

Cases meeting cycle time goal

Actual

23

11

20

11

Percent meeting cycle time goal

Actual

46%

85%

47%

31%

Total cases issued

Actual

50

13

43

36

Average cycle time days

Actual

465 days

262 days

447 days

566 days

P5. Public Service Indicator #5: Cycle time for E-Z Trial cases.

Definition: The Commission wants to maintain the recently improved cycle times for less complex cases processed under the E-Z Trial program. Cycle time is measured as the average time elapsed from the date of docketing of the case to the date the decision is filed with the Executive Secretary, for all heard E-Z Trial cases closed during the fiscal year.

 FY 2000 Target: Maintain cycle time to 160 days for all years covered by the Strategic Plan.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: No.

Discussion: We did not meet our goal. Each trial is independent of the others and the facts and circumstances of each case require adjustment to litigation cycle times. However, of the 35 cases heard in FY 2000, the ALJs decided 97 percent of the cases within 56 days from the close of the hearing.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Cycle time in days

Goal

160

160

160

160

Actual

168

162

166

176

Number of cases heard

Actual

29

27

31

35

P6. Public Service Indicator #6: Percent of total cases received which are designated E-Z Trial.

Definition: The Review Commission hopes to continue to expand the use of the E-Z Trial process to a higher proportion of the Review Commission's cases.

FY 2000 Target: Assign 30 percent of new cases to E-Z Trial.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: The Review Commission assigned 39 percent of all cases to the E-Z Trial process.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Percent of cases designated

Goal

20%

25%

30%

30%

Actual

25%

28%

31%

39%

Number of cases docketed

Actual

2,067

2,141

2,324

2,407

Number of cases designated as E-Z trial

Actual

524

611

733

934

P7. Public Service Indicator #7: Number of significant cases where settlement judges are appointed and the percentage where settlement conferences are held.

We revised the target for this objective in March of 1999.

Definition: The agency drafted procedural changes in FY 1998 to require our Chief Judge to appoint settlement judges for cases involving more than $200,000 in proposed penalties and in other cases where he deems it appropriate, under the Settlement Part pilot. The measure is defined as the number of cases during the year for which a settlement judge was appointed.

FY 2000 Target: Appoint settlement judges for 20 cases which have proposed penalties of $200,000 or for other cases the Chief ALJ deems appropriate.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: We substantially exceeded our goal. There were 42 cases in which a settlement judge was assigned a settlement conference under the Settlement Part pilot in FY 2000. In September 2000, the Review Commission voted unanimously to extend and make permanent Settlement Part procedures, after an evaluation of the program revealed user satisfaction with the program.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Number of cases using settlement procedures

Goal

N/A

N/A

10

20

Actual

N/A

N/A

32

42

P8. Number of major changes implemented in structure and format standards for decisions and other legal documents.

Definition: Three major sets of documents are to be redesigned throughout a three-year period: (1) Commission decisions, (2) judges' decisions and (3) legal documents, such as notices, orders and other legal documents. The redesign of one set of documents is planned for each fiscal year to improve quality and enhance operational efficiency.

FY 2000 Target: Redesign legal documents such as notices, orders and other legal documents.

 TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: In FY 2000, the Review Commission's briefing notices were redesigned to provide plain language instructions to the parties who file briefs at the Commission-level. The revised notice of instructions assists the parties and helps the agency maintain a more efficient and accurate briefing process. The instructions clarify the following procedures: publication of Commission's briefing rules, sequence for filing briefs, due dates, where to file, filing letters instead of briefs, page limits, format, table of contents, format, copies, fastening the pages, extensions of time, filing dates and filing by fax.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Number of documents to redesign

Goal

0

1

1

1

Actual

0

1

1

1


External Communications Goal

To significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of communications between the Commission and the public, its customers and other stakeholders.

Summary of FY 2000 Actual Performance: The Review Commission met all of the performance targets set for this goal.


P9. External Communications Indicator #1: The extent to which Commission decisions and other publications and case information are made available electronically through the agency's world wide website.

Definition: This effort involves three distinct phases in which: (1) the website is established and recent and new decisions and procedural guides and publications are made available (50%); (2) a more complete listing and copies of earlier decisions are added (20%); and (3) docket information on open cases is made available (30%). We eliminated #3 because of a lack of interest by our customers.

FY 2000 Target: Continue to maintain the website and produce a more complete listing and copies of earlier decisions so that Review Commission decisions, rules, press releases, guides, and other information are readily available electronically to the public. Future work will involve adding Commission decisions from the early 1990's and enhancing the appearance and usefulness of the site.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: The remaining 30 percent of the goal was originally dedicated to the development of a listing of docket information for open cases. However, this effort was eliminated in FY 1999 due to a lack of customer/stakeholder interest. In FY 2000, based on stakeholder interest, we substituted the docket information listing goal with the goal of enhancing our website to update its appearance and its ease of use. In FY 2000, we enhanced the appearance of our website and included a search engine to provide keyword searching capabilities. We also continued to update the decision listing by adding recent Review Commission decisions and decisions dating back to 1993.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Percent complete

Goal

0

50%

70%

100%

Actual

0

50%

70%

100%

P10. E-Z Trial video developed.

Definition: The Review Commission plans to complete this project in FY 1998

FY 2000 Target: The FY 1998 target was to develop a video tape of an E-Z Trial. The tape was to be modified in FY 2000.

     TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: The goal of developing an E-Z Trial video tape was scheduled to be completed in FY 1998. It was actually completed in FY 1999. The introductory part of the tape was modified in FY 2000. The tape continues to be sent to small employers, upon request. This tape, along with a "Guide to E-Z Trial," explains the process to aid employers in bringing cases before the Review Commission. This goal has been eliminated in our FY 2001 APP.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Number of E-Z Trial Videos

Goal

0

1

0

0

Actual

0

0

1

modified tape

P11. External Communications Indicator #3: Number of issuances (and updates) of CD-ROM's providing Commission decisions made available to the public through the Superintendent of Documents.

Definition: Publish Review Commission and ALJ decisions on CD-ROM for use by litigants, libraries and other interested parties. The first edition will be published in 1998, and updated versions will be issued each year thereafter.

FY 2000 Target: Update the CD-ROM to include the most recent decisions.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: We exceeded our goal and published two CD-ROMs, one in April and another in August 2000.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Number of CD-ROMs

Goal

0

1

1

1

Actual

0

0

1

2

P12. External Communications Indicator #4: Extent to which communication enhancing activities are completed to aid state adjudicators.

Definition: The Commission will facilitate a national conference of adjudicators in FY 1998 and hopes to hold such conferences periodically thereafter. We will also attempt to create a mechanism by which officials from one jurisdiction can get safety and health decisions and other useful information from all other jurisdictions. The bulk of this effort will occur in FY 1998, but the availability of state decisions and procedural data in electronic media will occur in FY 1999, with continuing activities in subsequent years.

FY 2000 Target: Develop better mechanisms for communications to aid state adjudicators who resolve occupational safety and health cases. For FY 2000, the performance target is to have an ongoing communications system in place incorporating our website and some more formal organization of adjudicators. The focus of the second part of this target was modified in FY 1999 so that the Review Commission would serve in a liaison role coordinating activities and information with appropriate federal and state adjudicators.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes

Discussion: The Review Commission completed updating the links on its website to the appropriate state websites. We also hosted a meeting for the exchange of information among appropriate federal and state adjudicators and interested professionals in the state and federal health and safety communities. The website links enable users to obtain state decisions maintained on the various state websites. The theme of the one-day meeting, planned for in FY 2000, but held in October 2000, was"Adjudicating Issues of Safety and Health in the Work Place? Is There an Alternative? What Role Can ADR Play in the Safety and Health Adjudicatory Arena?" Distinguished members of the bar, federal and state adjudicators and ADR practitioners

 attended the forum and shared practices, lessons learned, and strategies for developing effective means of resolving disputes and evaluating dispute resolution processes.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Percent complete

Goal

N/A

50%

80%

100%

Actual

N/A

50%

70%

100%

P13. External Communications Indicator #5: Biennial reports for the Commission issued as planned.

Definition: The Review Commission plans to produce a highly professional biennial report for fiscal years 1996 and 1997 and for every two-year period thereafter as an element of the Review Commission's evaluation strategy. The report will include the results of financial statement audits for applicable years.

FY 2000 Target: Publish Biennial Commission report for fiscal years 1998 and 1999.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: The Review Commission published a comprehensive Biennial Report summarizing and evaluating its activities and achievements for fiscal years 1998 and 1999.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Number of Biennial Reports

Goal

0

1

0

1

Actual

0

0

1

1

Information Technology Goal

To capitalize on recent investments in modern computer hardware and software to increase organizational effectiveness, operate more efficiently and better serve internal and external customers.

Summary of FY 2000 Actual Performance: The Review Commission met all of the performance targets set for this goal.


Information Technology Indicators

P14. Information Technology Indicator #1: Completion of case management/tracking system.

Definition: This measurement is defined as the percent of total effort completed. We will: (1) enhance internal communications of case information (20%); (2) ensure better management and evaluation reports (30%); (3) provide links to electronically stored legal documents (20%); and (3) enhance automation of business processes (30% spread over three years).

FY 2000 Target: Complete thelinkage of electronically stored legal documents to other case information.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: In fiscal year 1999, we assessed our ability to have parties electronically file legal documents with the Review Commission. We developed an action plan to pretest the electronic filing of Commission-level legal documents. In FY 2000, we pretested and initiated a pilot to electronically file legal documents for cases that have been directed for review at the Commission level. Parties were invited to participate in the project in order to determine if there was interest in electronic filing and to determine some of the ramifications of such filing. The pilot continues into FY 2001.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Percent Complete

Goal

10%

60%

90%

100%

Actual

10%

60%

80%

100%

P15. Information Technology Indicator #2: Complete a wide area network and improve communications with regional offices.

Definition: The Review Commission will upgrade its wide area network to include file servers in each region and strengthen data transfer. A portion of this effort will be completed in fiscal year 1997 and the remainder in fiscal year 1998, and we will assess our needs again in fiscal year 1999.

FY 2000 Target: The activities for this target were identified as "unknown" in the FY 2000 APP. However, after we assessed our FY 1997 - 1998 efforts to strengthen and migrate to a client/server environment, the agency developed and implemented a plan to make our wide area network more effective and efficient in FY 2000.

 TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: Based on our FY 1999 assessment of our network and communication needs, we enabled our employees to have access to the Internet through our Exchange Server. In addition, we upgraded our network cabling to increase the speed of electronic transmissions. We also upgraded our network hub to provide more efficient network traffic control and data storage and security. We equipped the regional offices with the ability to have full access to the Internet and available research tools, as well as e-mail.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Percent complete

Goal

30%

100%

Assess

Plan to upgrade

Actual

30%

100%

Assess

Upgrade

P17.(6) Information Technology Indicator #4: Level of completion of integrated financial management information system.

Definition: This measurement is defined as the percent of total effort completed in a given fiscal year. The broad design and input screen for this system were completed in FY 1997. We estimate that this comprises 25 percent of the effort. Initial programming was completed and the baseline system became operational in 1998 (65% of effort). The system will record transactions, and automate paperwork and approvals for procurement and payment processes. Additional enhancements will be added in FY 1999 and these segments comprise 10 percent of total effort.

FY 2000 Target: Assess how well the system is working, use the system to reduce paperwork, and automate finance and procurement functions, and develop additional systems modules.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion:An assessment of the financial management system was conducted to determine the continued use of modules. The electronic purchase requests and the credit card modules will continue to be used. We will make additional modifications, as needed in FY 2001.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Percent complete

Goal

25%

90%

100%

Assess

Actual

25%

90%

100%

Assess

Human Resource Management Goal

To build a highly motivated diverse workplace by developing a first class human resource management system, including highly effective affirmative action, recruitment, training, award, and performance management processes.

Summary of FY 2000 Actual Performance: The Review Commission met all of the performance targets set for this goal.



P18. Human Resource Management Indicator #1: Delivery of needed training measured in hours.

Definition: The Commission will identify annual and long-term training priorities and development needs for each employee and meet these needs by annually providing a target number of hours of formal or on-the-job training. Achievement of training goals will be included in both employees' and supervisors' performance appraisals.

FY 2000 Target: Provide an average of 40 hours of training per employee.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: The Review Commission participated in the Office of Personnel Management Individual Learning Account Pilot. This allowed employees to plan and use 40 hours of official time to develop and enhance their technical skills to assist them in performing their jobs and improve career-long learning. Employees received an average of 56.2 hours of training. Sixty-six employees (93%) received over 40 hours of training.

P19. Human Resource Management Indicator #2: Percentage of employee performance plans redesigned to include Strategic Plan objectives and annual performance goals.

Definition: Performance plans will be revised for all employees rated, by linking employee performance standards to the strategic plan goals and objectives, and to internal performance indicators linked to our annual performance objectives.

FY 2000 Target: Revise all performance plans for all employees rated to incorporate strategic goal expectations.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: Performance plans were revised, as needed. Eight performance plans for the administrative staff were revised.

Quality Improvement Goal

To develop and institutionalize a process for continuous quality improvement.

Summary of FY 2000 Actual Performance: The Review Commission met all of the performance targets set for this goal.


P20. Quality Improvement Indicator #1: Percentage of staff provided quality management and quality team leader training.

 Definition: The agency hopes to facilitate process redesign and to improve service to the public by reevaluating key processes using the concepts of quality management. To do this, it must have a trained cadre of staff who are familiar with quality management and customer service concepts. Our target is to train at least 20 percent of the staff each year to enable them to lead and participate in quality improvement teams.

FY 2000 Target: Provide quality management and team leader training to 20 percent of the staff.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: We trained 40 percent of the employees in FY 2000. A total of 68 employees have received quality management or team leader training. We revised this target in our FY 2001 APP to complete training of all employees by FY 2001, rather than 2002.

FY

1997

1998

1999

2000

Percent complete

Goal

0%

30%

50%

70%

Actual

0%

24%

59%

91%

P21. Quality Improvement Indicator #2: Number of teams appointed for key business processes evaluated and reengineered to achieve improved performance.

Definition: The agency needs to reevaluate all key business processes in order to streamline operations, and improve quality and performance. To do this it will appoint process improvement teams. This measure counts the number of teams that complete work each year with significant process improvements adopted.

FY 2000 Target: Establish two process improvement teams to make useful suggestions for improving processes that affect regional operations and one other process.

TARGET MET OR EXCEEDED: Yes.

Discussion: Two key business process teams were appointed to review our business processes to improve quality and performance. Their recommendations were adopted by the Chairman. In FY 2000, we established a Briefing Notice Team and a Procurement Team. The Briefing Notice Team redesigned the Commission's briefing notices to provide plain language instructions to the parties who file briefs at the Commission-level. The revised notice of instructions provides a concise guide to filing briefs with the Commission. The Procurement Team reevaluated our procurement processes and streamlined operations while adhering closely to federal acquisition regulations and financial guidelines. The team also revised Review Commission directives and guidance documents to reflect the procedural and policy changes.

FY

1997

1998

2000

2000

Teams appointed

Goal

1

2

2

2

Actual

1

2

2

2

 


1. In FY 2000, the Review Commission reassessed the environment within which it operates, including legal mandates, available technology and economic factors. We received comments from stakeholders, managers, employees, and congressional staffs about the agency's Strategic Plan. We used this information to identify new strategies and areas needing improvements. In September 2000, the Review Commission revised its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2000-2005, consistent with GPRA and OMB requirements. The performance indicators noted in this report refer to the vision, mission and performance goals, objectives and indicators that were identified in our 1997 Strategic Plan for FY 2000.

2. Some performance indicators found in the FY 2000 APP have performance goals for FY 1998 and 1999. We addressed them in this report either because they were completed in FY 2000 (e.g., P10, P15) or for information purposes only (P16).

3. The 1997 Strategic Plan and the FY 2000 annual plan identified that 10 percent of cases would be "complex." In fact, the Review Commission realized a 23 percent increase in large or complex cases between FY 1998 and 1999. Although we experienced a decrease in large cases in FY 2000, many of the cases disposed of in FY 2000 at the ALJ level were complex cases.

4. The SP provides a more structured and formal setting in the preliminary stages of cases to promote the expedited resolution of disputes and to reduce litigation costs. It requires employers who receive job safety or health citations that include proposed penalties of $200,000 or more (or cases deemed appropriate by the Chief Judge) to participate in formal settlement talks at which a Review Commission ALJ presides. If settlement efforts fail, a different ALJ hears the case. To enhance the chances of success, settlement conferences must be attended by officials with the authority to settle. Information and documents shared during such negotiations are confidential and protected from later disclosure unless all parties agree. When employers contest workplace safety citations, they are not required to correct allegedly unsafe conditions until the Review Commission issues a final decision; thus, settlement often brings swifter correction of potential workplace hazards.

5. Complex cases contains one or more of the following characteristics: intricacies of the law; number of parties; volume of documents, including transcripts; large number of witnesses (including expert witnesses in such fields as engineering, architecture, construction, soil, physics, epidemiology, pathology, neurology and infectious diseases); length of the trial; the large amounts of money involved; number of alleged violations, items (including distinct and separate items), and affirmative defenses; technical, novel, difficult or new standards raised; type of cases, such as those involving air pollution, asbestos, lead poisoning, tuberculosis, and ergonomics; or extensive pre-trial discovery, including large numbers of interrogatories, conferences, and motions.

6. Performance Goal P16. - Information Technology Indicator #3: Extent to which memory and processor for desktop computers are upgraded based on need - was completed in FY 1999. However, the goal remained in the FY 2000 APP. This goal has been eliminated in our FY 2001 APP.

Last Updated: March 27, 2003

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