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OSHA Inaction

Onerous Requirements Imposed on OSHA Prevent the Agency from Issuing Lifesaving Rules

October 5, 2011 — According to certain pundits, a “regulatory hurricane” is brewing. Yet when it comes to health and safety protections for workers, there has been a regulatory drought. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has produced fewer regulations during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidencies than during any other similar period in the agency’s history. While OSHA was once able to develop a rule in less than a year, the process now exceeds six years on average. Five pending OSHA standards have been subject to delays ranging from 4 to 31 years. Analyzing OSHA’s risk assessment data, we found that eliminating the delays would have prevented more than 100,000 serious injuries, more than 10,000 cases of occupational illness and hundreds of worker fatalities.

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