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While OSHA has never been the most robustly funded federal agency, its efforts and regulatory authority have helped prevent countless deaths, injuries and illnesses on the job.
>In a report released in late August by the Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch), author Nick Schwellenbach chronicled what austerity means for OSHA and the workers it protects. To first put the issue and impacts of slashed budgets in broader context, consider OSHA’s current capacity. According to the report, OSHA conducted fewer health and safety compliance inspections in 2011 than in 1981, despite the number of workplaces doubling from 4.5 million to 9 million and the number of workers growing from about 73 million to about 129 million. In that three-decade span, the ratio of OSHA inspectors to workers fell from one per 31,000 workers to one per 62,000 workers. And of course, as with most public health endeavors, cutting oversight of health and safety doesn’t save money in the long run.<
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