The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that it continued to exceed enforcement goals during Fiscal Year (FY) 2008. In its press release, the agency reports that its emphasis on identifying and eliminating serious safety and health hazards has resulted in an unprecedented 80 percent of all violations issued being in the most serious categories.
Among the DOL’s statistics:
87,697. Number of logged violations of OSHA standards and regulations for worker safety and health in 2008.
67,052. Number of 2008 OSHA violations cited as “serious.”
12. Number of criminal referrals for wrongdoing under the Occupational Safety and Health Act made in 2008.
38,515. Number of OSHA worksite inspections in 2008, surpassing the agency’s goal for the year by 2.4 percent. On average, 4,000 more workplace inspections were completed each year (38,515) between FY 2001-2008 as compared to the prior administration FY 1993-2000 (34,508).
3,800. Number of worksites targeted by the DOL for unannounced comprehensive safety inspections.
“Workplace inspections and issuing citations are a critical part of OSHA’s balanced approach to improving workplace safety, but the real test of success is saving lives and preventing injuries,” said acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Thomas M. Stohler in the December 19, 2008 press release. “According to preliminary numbers for 2007, the workplace fatality rate has declined 14 percent since 2001, and since 2002, the workplace injury and illness rate has dropped 21 percent - with both at all time lows. This year’s inspection numbers show that the strategic approach used by OSHA - targeting highest hazard workplaces for aggressive enforcement while also using education, training, and cooperative programs to improve overall compliance - can help achieve significant reductions in workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities.”
Christopher W. Olmsted, Esq.
Barker Olmsted & Barnier, APLC