Join Interfaith Worker Justice to tell OSHA to hire more inspectors. Add your name to help us protect the lives of working people.
For almost fifty years now, we have come together on April 28th for Workers’ Memorial Day to demand real action to prevent unnecessary injuries and deaths in the workplace.This Workers’ Memorial Day, let’s send OSHA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary, Loren Sweatt, an email on Workers’ Memorial Day! Tell her to hire more inspectors and put them to work protecting the lives of working people!
Having more inspectors who can enforce OSHA regulations protects workers and saves lives. Deaths, injuries and illnesses in the workplace are preventable with common sense safety rules that are effectively enforced.
Yet, what we are seeing since the beginning of the Trump administration is a drastic decline in the enforcement of workplace dangers that require more time or resources. For example, since 2016, OSHA has only conducted one-third the number of inspections involving hazards that cause musculoskeletal injuries (ergonomics) even though these are the number one type of work related illnesses reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There have also been 20% fewer inspections where the agency measured individual workers’ levels of exposure to dangerous chemicals. Tellingly, there have been half the number of high penalty cases.
But the most striking realization is that OSHA now has the lowest number of safety and health inspectors in its 48-year history! Let that sink in for a second. The workforce has effectively doubled yet there are fewer inspectors than there were in 1975. This is a conscious choice on the part of OSHA. It is not a budget issue! There is money in their budget to hire more inspectors but they have chosen not to do so.
The fact that OSHA has chosen NOT to hire more inspectors is dangerous and has a real impact on worker safety. For example, in late 2018, there were multiple poultry slaughter plants that reported repeated incidents of severe worker injuries, such as amputations, and never received an onsite inspection! This despite the fact that OSHA is well aware that poultry plants report among the highest numbers of work-related amputations of any industry.
So on the day when we pay respect to the workers across the world who have been injured or lost their lives on the job, tell OSHA to hire more inspectors. OSHA has the funds, now make sure they put them to use protecting workers.