Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

show that improvements in work place safety and health conditions were

responsible for this drop in violations for serious hazards.

[blocks in formation]

of

the BLS Annual Survey to set inspection priorities and to determine how

to allocate inspection resources.

However,

until this Administration,

BLS

statistics and employers Logs of Injury and Illness were never used as a

basis for the exemption of employers from routine OSHA safety inspections.

The AFI-CIO has serious problems

with the design of the current OSHA

targeting program for manufacturing and

the exemption of employers from

routine safety inspections. But more importantly, we are concerned that the

use of BLS statistical data and employer's logs for the the unintended

purpose of inspection exemption may further compromise the validity and

compound the problems associated with this basic health and

safety

information.

The AFI-CIO has urged the Bureau of Labor Statistics,

OSHA and

Congressional Appropriations Committees to fund a quality assurance study in

FY 1985 to determine the validity and accuracy of employer Logs of Injury

and Illness and to evaluate the problems associated with recordkeeping.

2)

Changes in OSHA's Inspection Activity Reporting

Since its inception the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

has collected and maintained data on its enforcement activities.

Problems

with completeness of data and accuracy have been persistent, but the

[blocks in formation]

practices and policies have made it difficult if not impossible to gain

ready access to meaningful inspection information.

Two years ago,

after the AFL-CIO had published reports showing drastic

declines in OSHA enforcement activity, OSHA suddenly refused to provide

us

requested routine enforcement reports.

According to the agency, the data

previously provided was preliminary, and they considered us incompetent to

evaluate it properly.

After months of meetings with OSHA officials, the

agency agreed to provide quarterly and annual reports on a three month delay

to allow the data to "mature".

The Compliance Activity Reports released by OSHA from 1982 to 1983 were

similar to enforcement reports compiled by the previous administration.

The

only exception was the addition of the item "records review inspection".

These record review inspections were counted by the agency in computing its number of total inspection, (records review inspections accounted for about 10,000 out of 68,000 total visits in FY 83), even though these record review

[blocks in formation]

resulting in citations, number of hours spent on inspections, or employees

covered by OSHA inspections.

For two years OSHA used this reporting scheme to publicly claim that

the number of work place inspections

was

increasing under the Reagan

Administration.

But despite OSHA claims a closer evaluation of the data

showed that actual inspections of work place hazards decreased from FY 1980 to 1983 and that 45% fewer workers were covered by OSHA inspections during

this time period.

In February 1984 OSHA changed its enforcement reporting to put a more

favorable face on its dismal enforcement record.

With no public notice the

agency changed its method

of computing enforcement activity by including record

review

visits

in the computation of inspection indications.

(Previouslyrecords reviews were included in the computation of "total

inspections",

but only actual work place inspections were used to compute

individual inspection indicators).

The result of this change in policy are

startling.

A Compliance Activity Report for FY 1983 compiled under the old

reporting system shows

48,745 general schedule inspections and 19,071

inspections in the manufacturing sector.

A report for the same period

compiled using records review inspections shows 59,351 general schedule

inspections and 29,456 manufacturing inspections. (See Attachments 1 and

[blocks in formation]

over 2 million workers covered by OSHA inspections in FY 83 to nearly 3 million workers for the same time period. (OSHA previously counted the number of workers covered by record review inspections as zero).

It is the view of the AFL-CIO that OSHA's new practice of including

records reviews in the computation of inspection indicators misrepresents

enforcement

activity and precludes meaningful comparison of previous

inspection activity.

We have expressed our concern on this matter to OSHA

and have asked them to rescind this policy.

The agency transmitted a terse

reply suggesting the matter was none of our business and that

[blocks in formation]

know how to use the data properly. (See Attachments 3 and 4).

Just last week using its phony records review data, OSHA announced its

semiannual FY 1984 inspection statistics claiming the agency had conducted

[blocks in formation]

favorable statistics for public relations purposes than it is to have valid

data for meaningful program evaluation.

3)

Revision of OSHA's Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records Rule

Since 1980 an OSHA regulation has required that employers maintain

exposure and medical

records of workers exposed to toxic substances, and

make the records available

to employees and their representatives upon

request.

The purpose of this Access to Employee Exposure and Medical

Records rule was to establish a

data base for studies of work related

diseases, and to provide necessary information to OSHA, workers and unions

for their health and safety activities.

In 1982 at the request of some industry representatives OSHA proposed

to radically weaken the Access rule.

The 1982 proposed revision would

reduce by over 90 percent the number of toxic substances covered by the

rule, allow the destruction of chemical identity records needed to establish

[blocks in formation]

showed the rule was being utilized for its intended purposes.

Since the 1982 rulemaking, court review of a broad industry challenge to the original 1980 rule has been completed and the rule has been firmly

upheld in every respect. In November 1982 the U. S.

District Court for the

Western District of Louisiana rejected the industry arguments that the

rules' definition of toxic substance was too broad; that union's should not

be provided

access to data; and that the trade secret provisions allowing

[blocks in formation]

protective.

The industry appealed this decision, but last month on May 7,

1984, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued

а

one paragraph order

upholding the decision of the lower court and the 1980 Access rule in full.

With this decision the AFL-CIO had hoped that OSHA would abandon its

earlier initiatives to revise the Access rule.

However, in responding to

the Fifth Circuit's decision the agency indicated it is proceeding with its

revision plans.

The AFI-CIO is concerned that actions by OSHA to weaken this rule will

seriously erode existing exposure and medical information,

making future

evaluation of occupational disease more difficult, and impede worker and

union access to this important information.

We appreciate and commend the Committee's review of occupational safety and health recordkeeping and statistics, and urge continued oversight to assure that this basic information is improved and properly managed.

« ForrigeFortsett »