Researchers Conclude that OSHA Penalties Reduce Workplace Injuries

Source: Ivan Kmit - 123RF

WASHINGTON – A new study from the Institute for Work and Health concludes that citations with penalties from inspections reduce workplace injuries.

Researchers performed a systematic review to determine the effectiveness of the enforcement of occupational safety and health regulation in creating incentives for firms to focus on safety and health issues. While mixed evidence was found on the effectiveness of the general threat of an inspection, the study found strong evidence that actual citations and penalties reduce the frequency or severity of injuries.

This study builds on the findings from several other recent studies showing that injury rates decrease at an establishment in the years following an OSHA inspection.

“This confirms what we have been saying for a long time – that OSHA inspections and penalties are important and effective components of a comprehensive strategy to improve workplace safety and health,” said Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels.

To better meet this goal, OSHA recently changed the way it measures its inspections to give greater weight to those that are more impactful.