National News Release
September 3, 1999
CONTACT: Bonnie Friedman/Michael Fluharty
Statement by Charles N. Jeffress
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health
In Response to the Report by Public Citizen on Reinventing OSHA
As we begin celebration of Labor Day 1999, America's workplaces have never been safer. The
economy is booming; yet job-related injury, illness and fatality rates are all down significantly. Under the
Clinton Administration, OSHA continues working aggressively to protect the safety and health of
Enforcement remains strong. Significant cases are up 187 percent since 1993 and still growing.
Penalty rates per inspection are higher under this administration than any other. Targeting worksites with
high injury and illness rates is paying off. At the same time, education, partnerships and compliance
assistance are all growing, too. Over the past five years OSHA funded more than 127,000 consultation
visits, helping employers identify and correct almost a million hazards.
A balanced approach to job safety and health is clearly working. That's what reinvention is all
about. OSHA wants to do more. And the Clinton Administration is proposing a budget that would let us
do more. The President's budget for OSHA for the coming year is $388 million -- an increase of $35
million over the current year. Threats to cut or freeze our budget would hurt America's workers and
reduce our ability to help employers.
The measure of OSHA's success is not told through inspection numbers or flawed research. The
real measure is in making the workplace more safe and healthful. Thanks to work completed in the past
seven years, new standards are in place to provide respiratory protection and to guard against exposure to
dangerous chemicals such as methylene chloride and butadiene. Other standards are in works to protect
workers exposed to tuberculosis and silica. Soon we expect to have a proposal on ergonomics to protect
more than 600,000 workers who every year suffer the stress, strain and disability of repetitive motion and
over-exertion on the job.
The results prove that a strong mix of enforcement, partnership, rulemaking and outreach provide
the balance needed to ensure the safety and health of America's workforce as we move into the next
# # #
This news release text is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.