Justinian C. Lane, Esq.
Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens May Fall
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Justinian Lane's Blog

Justinian's Blog

By the numbers defense of OSHA leaves an important number out

 I saw this over at Point of Law:

"Just out in The American: our own Jim Copland pokes some holes in New York Times reporter Stephen Labaton's supposed expose of lax enforcement practices at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

...here’s the rub: under Bush’s tenure, American workplaces have actually gotten safer. From 2000 to 2005, workplace fatalities fell from 5,920 to 5,702—a slightly better annual rate of improvement than under Bill Clinton’s tenure. Non-fatal workplace injuries have also fallen from 6.1 to 4.6 cases per 100 workers, a decline of almost 25 percent."

Source: PointofLaw.com | PointOfLaw Forum: OSHA and its critics

From 2000 to 2005, workplace fatalities dropped by 200.  During that same period of time, over 2 million manufacturing jobs were eliminated or shipped overseas.  So we took 2 million workers out of dangerous jobs and saw 200 less fatalities.  Hardly evidence that OSHA under Bush has been as effective or more effective than under Clinton. 

The manufacturing sector accounts for roughly 15 million workers, and accounts for roughly 20% of nonfatal injuries.  One would presume that since manufacturing jobs declined by 15%, that would be a significant reason why nonfatal injuries were down, too.  Again, not compelling evidence that the OSHA's policy of "Trust and don't verify compliance" is making workers safer.