OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
National News Release USDL 02-677
December 5, 2002
Contact: Bill Wright
Phone: (202) 693-1999
Penalties for Serious Violations Also Rise
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration made good on its promise to deliver strong, fair and effective enforcement this past year by exceeding its inspection goals and increasing both the number of serious violations and the penalties assessed for them, U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced today.
"One of my priorities has been and will continue to be strong, fair, effective enforcement, and these figures bear that out," said Chao. "Inspections of workplaces are up, and we are more effectively targeting where the hazards exist. We will continue to make improvements as we progress toward our bottom line - reducing injuries, illness and fatalities in the workplace."
The increased enforcement activity came during a year when the agency also dedicated unprecedented resources to ensuring the safety and health of workers at the World Trade Center site in New York. Over a ten-month period, more than 1,000 inspectors from state, consultation, and Federal OSHA offices around the country were sent to assist in the New York effort.
During fiscal year 2002, which ended on Sept. 30, 2002, the agency inspected 37,493 workplaces in the United States. That is 1,093 inspections more than the fiscal year target of 36,400 inspections. In addition, the average penalty for serious violations rose from $930 in FY-2001 to $977 in FY-2002, indicating that the violations OSHA found were more serious, with higher penalties attached. Serious violations of workplace safety and health laws accounted for 70% of all OSHA violations found. This figure, the highest ever, shows that the agency is directing its resources to the establishments most in need of enforcement action.
"No worker should be injured or killed on the job," said Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration John Henshaw. "While there are fewer workplace fatalities each year, we still have more to do. We will continue to work with employers and employees to drive down injury and fatality rates even lower. A safe and healthful workplace, free from recognized hazards, is the right of every worker in America."
The top five most frequently cited OSHA standards are also in the most hazardous industries and areas with the most potential for serious illness, injury or death: scaffolding, hazard communications, fall protection, respiratory protection, and lockout/tagout.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7773 or TTY (202)693-7755.
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