Workplace Inspection Program Weak in Detecting and Correcting Serious Hazards

HRD-78-34: Published: May 19, 1978. Publicly Released: May 19, 1978.

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The Department of Labor estimated that during 1976 about 4,500 private industry workers suffered fatal work-related injuries and illnesses and that about 1 of every 11 workers had nonfatal injuries and illnesses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for trying to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for more than 60 million workers. It establishes national occupational safety and health standards and conducts inspections of work places.

A review of Labor and state inspections revealed that: (1) serious work hazards were sometimes not identified, this often resulted from inadequate guidance and monitoring; (2) compliance officers were unaware of the applicability of some standards and believed others were unenforceable; (3) required follow-up inspections to ensure elimination of serious hazards sometimes were not made and often, when made, were untimely; (4) citations for some serious hazards were withdrawn, sometimes without good cause, without review and without reinspections; (5) many serious hazards were cited as nonserious violations, and therefore, follow-up inspections were not made; and (6) requests for additional time to correct hazards were routinely approved without determining that employers tried to correct hazards.

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  • employment icon, source: GAO

    Priority Open Recommendations:

    Department of Labor
    GAO-19-395SP: Published: Apr 3, 2019. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 2019.

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