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Federal Workplace Safety Inspections Up 4% in FY 2019

Dec. 3, 2019, 10:54 PM

Workplace safety and health checks by federal inspectors increased in fiscal year 2019, according to numbers released Dec. 3 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA conducted 33,401 inspections, a 4% boost over the 32,023 inspections in 2018.

The 2019 total was the highest OSHA count since 2015 when OSHA made 35,820 inspections.

The agency’s acting Administrator Loren Sweatt said in written statement, “I am proud of the diligent, hard work of all OSHA personnel who contributed to a memorable year of protecting our nation’s workers.”

Inspections grew while the number of inspectors stayed flat. The agency ended the fiscal year with 957 inspectors and field supervisors, the same total as the close of 2018, an October report from the agency showed.

Details to Come

OSHA didn’t release other details about inspections, such as how many were of construction sites and whether complaints, injuries, or other concerns prompted an inspection. Those numbers may not be released until April, an agency spokesperson said.

The agency also didn’t say how many inspections were part of its program encouraging field offices to take on time-consuming inspections or areas of heightened focus, such as workplace violence.

Deborah Berkowitz, OSHA chief of staff for much of the Obama administration and now safety and health director for National Employment Law Project in Washington, said Dec. 3 that the Trump administration has boosted its past inspection numbers by conducting fewer complicated inspections.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at BRolfsen@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com

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