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Funding and manpower issues limit number of OSHA inspections

Los Angeles residents may be interested in a story detailing some of the manpower issues that one government workplace safety agency is facing. These issues stem from inadequate funding and may affect employees' safety on the job.

Even as workplace accident and injury cases have declined over the years, a large deficit remains in the prevention of future workplace injuries. Reports indicate that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is facing budget and staffing shortfalls that impede its ability to put a focus on prevention. Instead, the majority of OSHA's manpower is centered on responding in the wake of accidents. This response often takes the form of inspection and fines in connection with any violations found.

One spokesperson blames this shift in focus on the lack of funding. At the rate that OSHA can feasibly conduct preventative inspections of all facilities they are tasked with monitoring, it would take 100 years to complete the work. Because of this lack of manpower, OSHA is relying on businesses to police themselves. There is an economic incentive to this, as a safer company keeps workers' compensation premiums down and productivity up. Additionally, businesses that have high accident rates over time will be a higher priority for OSHA inspection. This could open up these businesses to fines for not having proper procedures in place or failing to follow them.

A workplace accident stemming from a lack of safety protocols can keep a worker from their job for a significant amount of time. This is particularly true when an accident ends in a serious back or head injury. An attorney who has experience in workers' compensation cases may be able to help the employee file the correct administrative claim to recover lost wages and other compensation.

Source: Dayton Daily News, "OSHA focuses more on accident response, hazards than prevention", Chelsey Levingston, July 09, 2014

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