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Annual DOL OIG report points out challenges and outlines recommendations for OSHA

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Washington — OSHA “continues to be hampered” by the lack of a permanent standard on infectious diseases and “needs to address worksite violence,” a new report states.

In its annual report for 2023, the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General calls on the agency to develop a permanent standard aimed at protecting workers in all high-risk industries from infectious diseases.

In addition, it states that workplace violence is “a major problem shown to be the fourth-leading cause of death on the job and the fifth-leading cause of nonfatal injury resulting in days away from work in private industry.”

The report’s other recommendations:

  • Complete initiatives aimed at improving employer reporting of severe injuries and illnesses.
  • Enhance staff training on hazard abatement verification, especially of smaller and transient construction employers.
  • Explore mechanisms to enhance interagency collaboration, such as memoranda of understanding or other agreements, to take advantage of inspections being conducted by OSHA’s counterparts in the federal government.

DOL OIG acknowledges recent progress on several issues. That includes a new injury and illness reporting rule set to go into effect Jan. 1. In detailing some of OSHA’s current challenges, the report notes that a recent DOL OIG audit found that, between 2016 and 2020, nearly 60% of establishments in all industries didn’t submit the required annual injury and illness reports.

“Additionally, OSHA could not identify if an establishment met the criteria for mandatory reporting and, therefore, could neither proactively remind specific establishments that they must report nor effectively cite employers for noncompliance,” the report states. “Nonreporting continues to be a challenge for OSHA and results in an incomplete view of workplace injury and illness.”

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