Injury, Illness Rates Were Decreasing Without OSHA Enforcement Push

March 25, 2011

Rate declining well ahead of the arrival of the new sheriff.

Guest post courtesy of Jim Stanley at FDR Safety

There’s great news in a recent report from OSHA – injury and illness rates, collectively known as recordables, were down sharply in 2009 compared with 2005.

As you can see from the chart above, the trend line moved on a steady downward path.

Of course that’s great news for workers and their companies. With a safer workplace, everyone wins.

But the chart does make you wonder. Nearly all that progress in injury and illness reduction was made prior to OSHA’s announcement that there was a new “sheriff” in town for workplace safety enforcement.

Under the Bush administration, there was a much stronger emphasis on voluntary cooperation between industry and OSHA. When the Obama administration took over, OSHA’s new leaders said the voluntary approach did not do enough to protect workers and reduce injuries and illnesses. But many business leaders have complained that OSHA’s enforcement push has been misguided and overdone.

As time goes on and OSHA compiles figures for 2010 and 2011, during the full bloom of the enforcement campaign, it will be interesting to see where the trend line goes and whether the sheriff got the real job done – keeping workers safe.

Nothing like a graph of some data to help us see the situation clearly. Thank you Jim.

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