Department of Labor

Public Employee Safety and Health Program

The Department of Labor is responsible for enforcing workplace safety and health standards at public non-federal workplaces. The Department conducts safety investigations when accidents occur, when complaints are received or on a routine basis. The Departmentís enforcement of the standards is overseen by OSHA, and OSHA has increased this oversight in response to certain weaknesses it identified in the Departmentís enforcement actions. We examined the effectiveness of these actions and found that the Departmentís safety investigations do not provide adequate assurance that workplaces are safe and healthy. We identified numerous instances in which complaints were misclassified, investigations were delayed and case processing was inefficient. As a result of these deficiencies, hazardous workplace conditions may not always be corrected promptly. We determined that Department inspectors are not adequately trained and Department inspection units may not be adequately staffed. We recommend that the Department improve its training program for the inspectors and reexamine staffing levels.

For a complete copy of Report 2000-S-49 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.