OSHA enforcement helps decrease workplace injuries

Industries that have stronger OSHA enforcement and investigations have shown a decline in workplace injuries, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workplace injuries declined in the manufacturing, construction and service sector during the last few years due to the increased OSHA enforcement in these industries.

Unfortunately, not all industries have OSHA breathing down their necks. According to the report, industries where OSHA has limited jurisdiction saw an increase in workplace injuries. Industries that don’t have as much OSHA enforcement are mainly small businesses and local and state governments.

The report suggests that industries with increased enforcement by OSHA benefit by having fewer workplace accidents and injuries. Industries that have less enforcement by OSHA tend to see more workplace accidents and injuries.

OSHA enforcement has contributed to the decline in workplace injuries in the private-sector. The private-sector injury rate stayed the same from 2011 to 2012. State and local governments saw an increase in workplace injury rates. They reported 5.7 injuries and illnesses for every 100 workers, which was the same as in 2010.

Even though OSHA does not currently have as much enforcement in the public sector, they are trying to make all workers aware of their rights to a safe workplace. OSHA said that all employees should be able to bring safety hazards and issues to their employer. Workers are also able to file a complaint with OSHA if safety concerns are not being addressed.

OSHA also issued what rights every worker is entitled to while working and if they have reported a safety issue:

  • Communicate safety concerns to OSHA or their employer without facing retaliation.
  • Receive training or education about safety hazards.
  • Review safety-training information that OSHA has put together for their specific job duties.

Source: EHS Today, “Injury Rates Rise Where OSHA Has Limited Jurisdiction,” Michael Pines, Dec. 6, 2012

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