This year, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) used its authority through a combination of traditional practices and unique approaches to assure safe and healthful working conditions for America’s workers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, in October alone, 21.8 percent of employed persons teleworked because of the coronavirus, a number that reached 35 percent of employed persons in May.
In FY 2020 (Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020), the agency conducted 21,674 inspections in response to worker complaints, injuries and fatalities, and referrals impacted by the coronavirus. OSHA received 20,541 complaints – including 9,189 coronavirus-related complaints – and investigated every complaint.
OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program identified 80,910 workplace hazards, removing 667,492 workers from potential harm. Virtual technologies were used to continue major outreach initiatives, including the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction and the Safe + Sound Campaign.
The agency expanded its outreach and education efforts by issuing “COVID Tip-of-the-Day” and “Did You Know” direct messages.
OSHA received and investigated 11,865 whistleblower complaints. Nearly a quarter of the complaints (3,437) were coronavirus-related. Monetary settlements or merit awards totaled $30.1 million, nearly doubling $16 million from the previous year.
OSHA pivoted its health and safety training to digital formats, reaching more than 1.6 million workers and exceeding last year’s record of more than 1.3 million workers trained.
The training was provided through the agency’s various education programs, including the OSHA Training Institute Education Centers, Outreach Training Program and Susan Harwood Training Grant Program.
OSHA’s coronavirus website, which includes guidance documents, FAQs and videos aimed at helping America’s workers stay safe and healthy in these historic times – has garnered more than 11 million page views since January 2020. There were more than 55 million overall visits by the public to OSHA.gov.
“OSHA remains committed to strong enforcement, compliance assistance and training programs to accomplish our mission of safety and health for every worker,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt.
“Despite the pandemic-related challenges that impacted the nation, OSHA staff worked tirelessly to help ensure every worker was safe on the job. I am proud of the work the agency accomplished for America’s workers during this unprecedented year.”
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.
OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.