Federal government shuts down; safety agencies reduce staff

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Washington – At midnight Sept. 30 – the end of the federal government’s 2013 fiscal year – the first government shutdown in nearly 20 years occurred, as Congress was unable to agree on a funding plan.

As a result of the shutdown, OSHA has to scale back its operations and furlough nearly 2,000 employees. According to a shutdown plan updated last week, only 236 OSHA personnel will be on the job.

Because of reduced staffing levels, OSHA will respond only to fatalities, catastrophes, and complaints of employees exposed to potentially hazardous situations in which a high risk of death or serious bodily harm is present.

Other government safety agencies, including NIOSH and the Mine Safety and Health Administration, also will be affected by the shutdown.

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