Chao: Record-Breaking Results from Strong Enforcement, Compliance Assistance

U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao this week released the Department of Labor's annual enforcement statistics, which show that OSHA cited employers for 83,760 violations in FY 2003, a nearly 8 percent increase and that nearly 60,000 of those violations were considered serious, an 11 percent increase over FY 2002.

Other highlights of the enforcement statistics showed:

  • The rates of workplace injuries and fatalities fell to the lowest point ever in 2002
  • Fatalities in all mines decreased by 14 percent in FY 2003
  • Total mining injuries fell by 15 percent in FY 2003

"We never forget that behind every enforcement statistic and legal action is a person who needs our help," Chao said. "[These announcements] are an indication of how seriously this administration takes its commitment to protect the safety and security of America's workers."

Other OSHA achievements noted by Chao included:

  • In 2002 (the most recent data available), the number of workplace fatalities fell by 6.6 percent and the rate of fatal injuries in the workplace fell from 4.3 to 4.0 per 100,000 workers, both of which are the lowest figures ever recorded. Fatal work injuries among Hispanic workers, which had been rising each year since 1995, were down by 6 percent in 2002. Chao credited the drop to better enforcement, compliance assistance and an emphasis on accountability and results.
  • In 2001, (the most recent year for which data is available) the occupational injury and illness rate dropped to 5.7 cases per 100 workers the lowest level since the United States began collecting this information. As recently as 2000, the rate was 6.1 per 100 workers.
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