OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
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 America's workers.
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 century.
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.
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