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Fewer workplace safety inspectors could be problematic for OSHA

Ohio employees may be interested to learn that the number of federal safety inspectors has fallen under the Trump Administration. Since Trump took office, 40 inspectors with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have been lost through attrition. As of Oct. 2, 2017, no hires were made to replace the lost inspectors. By early October 2017, the lost inspectors made up 4 percent of the total inspection workforce.

Inspectors who are hired by OSHA are responsible for enforcing safety and health requirements workplaces across the nation. When inspectors go to the different workplaces, they flag hazards, document workplace violations and investigate certain complaints made by employees. In general, OSHA prioritizes workplaces that are high-risk, including manufacturing plants and construction sites.

The Trump Administration has pushed to reduce the federal workforce through proposed budget cuts, attrition and a hiring freeze. This has made it more challenging for federal agencies to hire the number of workers that they need to complete the work. For OSHA, the lack of workers can potentially be problematic as the agency has a limited amount of time to issue citations. Furthermore, the time limit that OSHA has to respond to workplace violations was shortened by the Trump Administration back in April of last year.

Employers in the state of Ohio are required to minimize hazards in the workplace. If they fail to do this and an employee suffers a workplace injury while on the clock, the employer is required to provide workers' compensation benefits. If a worker suffers a serious injury that requires medical care and the employer fails to provide benefits, an attorney may assist with filing a lawsuit. The attorney could also file an appeal if the insurance company that provides workers' compensation denies compensation for the injury.

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