OSHA Ups Inspections, Penalties In 2002

Compiled By Jill Jusko Recent news from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Washington, D.C., indicates that businesses still have a long way to go to make their workplaces safe for employees. Not only did OSHA exceed its inspection goals for fiscal 2002 by completing 37,493 examinations as of Sept. 30 -- up 1,093 over its target -- but the penalty for serious violations also rose. OSHA issued 78,479 violations in fiscal 2002, 70% of which were serious violations. That 70% figure, or 54,917, is the highest percentage ever of serious violations, the federal agency says, and indicates that it is targeting establishments most in need of enforcement action. In addition the average penalty for serious violations rose to $977 from $930 in fiscal 2001. "While there are fewer workplace fatalities each year, we still have more to do," states OSHA Assistant Secretary John Henshaw. "We will continue to work with employers and employees to drive down injury and fatality rates even lower." The statistics reflect federal agency activity only and do not include data from businesses regulated by state enforcement agencies.

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