This year is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's
(OSHA's) 35th year of existence. According to the U.S. Department
of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the agency opened in
1971, occupational deaths have decreased 62 percent and injuries
have declined 42 percent.
In fiscal year 2005, OSHA had roughly 2,220 employees, including
1,100 inspectors. The agency's appropriation from Congress for that
year was $468.1 million. OSHA's budget increased to $472.4 million
in fiscal year 2006, and the Bush administration has requested
$483.7 million for fiscal year 2007. However, these figures only
tell part of the spending story.
Section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
encourages states to develop and operate their own job-safety and
health programs. Federal OSHA approves and monitors state plans,
and 26 states operate OSHA-approved state plans instead of federal
But the biggest component of total domestic spending for
workplace safety is spent by companies in the private sector. Such
safety programs often have developed "organically" within
industries and led to dramatic reductions of workplace injuries and
fatalities since data started being collected nationally...
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