Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao this week released the Department of Labor's annual enforcement statistics, making the case that workers are safer thanks to strong enforcement and compliance assistance activities of OSHA and MHSA.

In recent years, OSHA and MSHA have focused enforcement on repeat offenders and invested in compliance assistance tools and partnerships that enable well-meaning employers to better protect workers. Chao said the numbers show the clear positive results of the Department's new approach:

  • OSHA cited employers for 83,760 violations in fiscal year 03, a nearly 8 percent increase;

  • Nearly 60,000 of those violations were considered serious, an 11 percent increase over FY 02;

  • The number of willful violations increased 22.1 percent;

  • The most recent data available show the rates of workplace injuries and fatalities fell to the lowest point ever in 2002;

  • Fatalities in all mines decreased by 14 percent in FY 03;

  • Total mining injuries fell by 15 percent in FY 03.

    OSHA inspections increased 5.9 percent in FY 03, to 39,817. Since FY 99, inspections have increased 15.4 percent.