The Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970, by then-president Richard Nixon. The goal was to make workplaces safer for employees.
It has now been just over 50 years since that act, giving us a lot of data to draw from. Has the Act worked or not?
Improving statistics indicate progress has been made
The numbers do seem to indicate that it has worked. Back in 1972, data shows that there were 10.9 cases for every 100 full-time equivalent workers. These cases involved illnesses and nonfatal injuries. If you fast forward to 2018, you can see that there are only 2.8 cases for every 100 full-time equivalent workers. This is a drastic improvement, though it did take five decades to get there.
Fatal injuries have only been accurately tracked since 1992. This doesn’t mean there is no data from before that, but it is not as dependable in some cases. Regardless, the stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a mild improvement between 1992 and 2018. There were 6,217 fatal accidents in 1992 and there were 5,250 fatal accidents in 2018.
That said, the low point for fatalities was actually 2009 when there were just 4,551 deaths. It stands to reason that the recession may have helped those numbers simply because more people were out of work.
What are your options after a workplace injury?
Have you been injured on the job? Though things are getting safer, this still happens to thousands of people every year. You need to know exactly what options you have and how to get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve.