The number of workplace safety inspectors employed by the Trump administration has fallen since October 2, according to a recent Freedom of Information Act request. The reduction has led to a 4 percent decrease in the number of safety inspectors employed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These reductions could have major implications for Pennsylvania businesses.
According to the Freedom of Information Act request, 40 OSHA inspectors have left the office through attrition since early October. So far, none of those inspectors have been replaced. This attrition has driven the total number of OSHA inspectors below 1,000. OSHA inspectors are responsible for reviewing places of work for safety violations and hazards. These inspections can lead to hefty fines if OSHA determines a workplace doesn’t meet safety standards.
The shrinking OSHA workforce is only one part of President Trump’s vow to shrink the size of the federal government workforce. According to the Office of Personnel Management, there are currently 16,000 fulltime federal employees than at the end of 2016. While some experts are concerned at the shrinking force of OSHA investigators, the Department of Labor claims to have recently hired ‘several additional inspectors.” Furthermore, they claim to be in the processing of hiring over two dozen additional inspectors.
Some experts are concerned that a smaller number of inspectors could lead to lax enforcement and more hazardous working environments. It’s not uncommon for individuals to become injured due to conditions to OSHA violations at the workplace. Injuries suffered at work would entitle that individual to damages including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An attorney with experience in worker’s compensation law may be able to pursue a claim with the employer’s insurance company and negotiate a settlement. In the event settlement talks fail, an attorney may be able to press the worker’s compensation claim in court.