By Matt Vensel
A few months ago, Medical Environment Update wrote about how the Trump administration’s oft-stated desire to trim the federal workforce would likely lead to fewer OSHA inspections, and how that would be big problem for the safety folks who are tasked with keeping healthcare workers out of harm’s way.
Well, we have an update on that from our colleagues over at EHS Daily Advisor. They detail a new National Employment Law Project (NELP) report that showed that the number of OSHA inspectors continues to steadily fall under the Trump Administration, thus leading to a decline in OSHA enforcement overall.
Under the revised measurement system, OSHA reported that total enforcement activity reached 42,900 enforcement units (EUs) for 2016. For 2017, the number reported by the agency dropped by 1,071 EUs to 41,829. Also, reports NELP, OSHA’s data for the first five months of 2018 show that EUs are already down by 1,163 from 2017.
According to the NELP brief, the drop in enforcement activity can be tracked to the drop in inspectors. As of January 2018, OSHA had 764 inspectors, down from 814 in January 2017. “This has clearly led to serious cutbacks in enforcement activity that raises vital questions about OSHA’s ability to protect workers,” says NELP.
The brief does not address enforcement of OSHA or state standards by state agencies.