A new report by a non-governmental organization warns that possible federal budget cuts carry serious implications for worker safety. Specifically, the cuts may curtail activities of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the agency responsible for safety in the workplace.
According to the report by the Center for Effective Government, OSHA already faces a serious financial crunch. The problem is likely to worsen if more budget cuts go into effect. Another year of sequester cuts could substantially reduce the agency’s ability to monitor workplace safety, the report said.
The report, What’s at Stake: Austerity Budgets Threaten Worker Health and Safety, noted that other federal agencies have experienced more severe budget cuts. Some government offices have struggled to perform their basic duties and responsibilities, resulting in reduced safety protections.
However, OSHA is now much smaller than it was two decades ago. Approximately 30 years ago, OSHA had a larger staff, even though the number of workplaces has exploded from 4.5 million then to 9 million today. More budget cuts would hurt the agency’s ability to prevent workplace injuries by conducting frequent inspections and citing employers who violate safety rules.
Michael Parsons is an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer, representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the workers’ compensation benefits that they have earned.