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Facts About OSHA and Workplace Safety

hard hats OSHA.jpg

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a relatively small agency. Nevertheless, it is charged with protecting more than 130 million workers in eight million workplaces around the country. There is one OSHA compliance officer for every 59,000 workers in the United States trying to prevent workplace accidents and keep workers healthy and on the job. How do they do it?

Statistics About OSHA

  • OSHA has a budget of $563,658,000 for 2013, although with Sequestration, it is reduced to $535,246,000.
  • The agency conducted 40,961 federal inspections and 51,133 state inspections.
  • Although the agency boasts of the decline in worker deaths, 4,609 employees died on the job in 2011. That comes to around 90 fatalities per week or 13 each day across the U.S.
  • Fatal injuries involving contractors accounted for 12 percent of the total number of all workplace deaths in 2012.
  • Construction in private industry accounted for 17.6 percent of workplace fatalities in 2011.
  • If “fatal four” accidents in construction could be eliminated, 419 worker lives could be saved every year. The fatal four are falls, electrocutions, being struck by objects, being caught in-between surfaces or objects.
  • Failing to provide fall protection on construction sites is the most common workplace safety violation.
  • Since 1970, workplace fatalities have declined by more than 65 percent. Occupational injuries and illnesses have gone down by 67 percent. During the same period, the number of U.S. workers has almost doubled. The reduction translates to 38 worker deaths in 1970 and 13 deaths per day in 2011.

Despite the impressive work of OSHA, the agency is spread much too thin and employers who wish to cut corners at the expense of employee safety often get away with it – until something terrible happens. That’s why it is so important to use the civil justice system as a way to hold employers accountable for their workers’ safety.

Fines imposed by OSHA for safety violations are often small – in some cases so small that employers barely feel the impact. Verdicts and settlements in worker injury cases can be much larger and can affect a business’s profitability. If you were injured because of a workplace safety violation, it’s important to seek legal advice about your options.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Commonly Used Statistics.” https://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonstats.html

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