Group calls OSHA's efforts 'regulatory dysfunction'

February 11, 2010

OSHA has become a "picture of regulatory dysfunction" due to inadequate enforcement staff and an outmoded rulemaking process, according to a report released Feb. 9 by the Center for Progressive Reform, a Washington-based safety and health advocacy group.

Workers at Risk: Regulatory Dysfunction at OSHA (.pdf file), claims injury and illness rates have remained "virtually the same" for the past 15 years as a result of a lack of funding for OSHA; low fines issued to businesses for workplace deaths; and a plethora of statutory, administrative and court-created limits on its rulemaking process.

The paper offered several recommendations for regulatory reform, including:

  • Use the General Duty Clause to protect workers from chemicals that do not have permissible exposure limits.
  • Seek additional resources to increase the rulemaking staff, and avoid negotiated rulemaking.
  • Work with the Bureau of Labor Statistics to improve the quality of injury and illness statistics.