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OSHA National News Release
U.S. Department of Labor
National News Release: 04-2376-NAT
Date: Nov. 18, 2004
Contact: Pamela Groover
Inspection goal exceeded, total violations increased
by nearly four percent over FY 2003
WASHINGTON -- John Henshaw, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health (OSHA), today released the agency's annual enforcement statistics, affirming that OSHA's balanced approach to workplace safety and health includes strong, fair and effective enforcement programs.
Henshaw said the agency exceeded its inspection goal for FY 2004, completing 39,167 total inspections including more than 300 under the new Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP) that focuses on employers who repeatedly ignore their safety and health obligations. OSHA also completed nearly 3,000 inspections within industries identified with high injury and illness rates.
"Our enforcement remained strong in FY 04," Henshaw said. "We exceeded our inspection goals; we strengthened our compliance assistance through our new enhanced enforcement program; and we found more violations and issued more serious and willful citations indicating a more accurate targeting system for workplaces and industries with a high proportion of injuries and illnesses."
Henshaw said the agency cited 86,708 violations of OSHA standards and regulations during FY 04, an increase of 3.8 percent over the previous year and nearly 10 percent over the last five years. Of particular significance was the increase in serious and willful violations issued during FY 04 (three and 14 percent, respectively, over FY 03). Henshaw said the increases demonstrate that OSHA is targeting the right workplaces for inspections by accurately identifying employers who repeatedly or willfully violate the law.
Henshaw also noted that injury and illness rates continue to decline and that fatality rates held their downward trend-over the past five years, the rate has decreased 11 percent.
"OSHA's enforcement program," Henshaw said, "is a key part of an overall approach which also includes training, compliance assistance, outreach, education, partnerships and cooperative programs that, together, make vital contributions to occupational health and safety. This approach is validated by the fact that workplace injury, illness and fatality rates are at their lowest levels ever, even as the workforce continues to expand. That is the ultimate measure of our success: more workers go home safe and healthy to their families at the end of every workday."
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
NOTE: A fact sheet detailing OSHA's Enforcement Program for FY2004 is attached to this press release. Additionally, BLS' most recent data is from 2002 for workplace injuries and illnesses, and 2003 for fatalities.
This news release text is on the Internet at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.
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