Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta recently told a Congressional committee that he expected OSHA inspections to increase soon.
Newly hired inspectors are getting up to speed, Acosta said, and when deployed, will step up inspections. OSHA inspections exceeded 32,000 in 2017 and 2018, more than the 31,948 total in 2016, despite attrition of inspectors at the agency.
OSHA has a relatively flat budget proposal for 2020, but Acosta cited an increase in enforcement funding (around $3.8 million more for federal enforcement). Acosta pointed to a decrease of 43 workplace fatalities from 2016 to 2017 – the most recent data available – and more than 40,000 fewer workplace injuries.
But OSHA conducted 929 fatality/catastrophe investigations in 2018, the most in a decade. That may indicate an increase in fatalities when the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes its Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, likely in December.