Saturday, April 26, 2003

AFL-CIO Releases 12th Annual Death on the Job Report

The AFL-CIO has released its 12 Annual Death on the Job report. The report is a national and state-by-state profile of worker safety and health in the United States. It's considered the policy "bible" for workplace health and safety activists. Here are some of the "highlights." But be sure to download the entire report. Use the information when dealing with politicians and those who hope to be politicians.
  • Penalties for significant violations of the law remain low. In FY 2002, serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act carried an average penalty of only $886 ($867 for Federal OSHA, $904 for state OSHA plans).

  • Between FY 1999 and FY 2002, the number of employees covered by Federal OSHA inspections decreased by nearly twenty percent. The average number of hours spent per inspection also decreased, from 22 to 19.1 hours for safety inspections and from 40 to 32.7 hours per health inspection. The number of citations for willful violations decreased from 607 in FY 1999 to 392 in FY 2002. The average penalty per violation decreased by 19 percent, with the average penalty per willful violations decreasing by 25 percent.

  • At its current staffing levels and inspection levels, it would take Federal OSHA 115 years to inspect each workplace under its jurisdiction just once. In four states (Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi), it would take more than 150 years for OSHA to pay a single visit to each workplace. In 18 states, it would take between 100 and 149 years to visit each workplace once. Inspection frequency is better in states with OSHA approved plans, yet still far from satisfactory.

  • The current OSHA law still does not cover 8.3 million state and local government employees.

  • After two and a half years under the Bush Administration, rulemaking at OSHA and MSHA has virtually ground to a halt.
    President Bush's proposed FY 2004 budget cuts funding for the nation's worker safety and health programs.

  • For the second year in a row, the Bush Administration has proposed to slash the NIOSH budget

  • There was a great deal of activity on state workers' compensation, driven in large part by insurers seeking to cut benefits or limit eligibility in an effort to boost profits after too much reliance on income from the stock market and years of cutting premiums to attract new customers.