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Not too bad. And they even pronounced my name correctly.
If I had had more time, there are a couple of additional points I would have made:
OSHA’s budget and staffing are worse now than ever in the almost 50 year history of the agency: This is an agency that hasn’t had a budget increase since 2010, that is tasked with ensuring the safety and health of workers in 8 million workplaces. OSHA inspectors are at their lowest level in the history of the agency. In 1980 – almost 40 years ago when Ronald Reagan became president, had almost twice as many inspectors than it has today in an economy that was half the size of the current economy.
We know what happens when employers don’t think they’ll ever see an OSHA inspector:
- In last few weeks, a worker was killed in an unprotected 25 foot deep trench in Ohio –5 times as deep as OSHA allows – working for a company that had previously been cited for trenching violations.
- Another worker in a meat processing plant in Ohio died when his foot was caught in a machine which ripped off his leg — at a machine at a company that had previously been cited for machine guarding violations.
It’s not just lack of inspectors where OSHA is suffering: there is still hiring freeze affecting supervisors, administrative people, whistleblower investigators who make sure that employees aren’t retaliated against for complaining about safety and health conditions, and compliance assistance specialists who help employers and workers understand the law and how to comply with standards. Inspectors may be the most important OSHA personnel, but you can’t run an enforcement agency on just inspectors.