Labor Secretary Marty Walsh Suggests More Jobs for Wage and Safety Inspectors

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh Suggests More Jobs for Wage and Safety Inspectors

OSHA may receive the funds necessary to increase jobs for investigators.

The Biden administration’s top labor official attempted to convince Senate appropriators to increase spending to hire more federal investigators, according to an article, previewing the potential for heightening wage and safety standards at businesses nationwide. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh asked a Senate Appropriations subcommittee for funding to double the number of occupational safety inspectors by the end of President Joe Biden’s four-year term. Walsh suggested that staff increase the wage-hour investigators who “scrutinize” employer payroll records.

“The Department of Labor is down about 3,000 employees from where it was four years ago,” Walsh said, testifying before the panel. “If we don’t have the staff and we don’t have the employees to protect the workers, then we can’t be on the job sites, we can’t be checking wage-and-hour, we can’t be making sure people are working in safe conditions.”

The labor secretary did not include specific numbers. However, he said his department is already hiring more enforcement personnel by using $200 million that congress authorized. This is for the DOL’s worker-protection agencies in the American Rescue Plan. Walsh explained that the funding is necessary to grow the agency’s staffing presence beyond where it was four years ago. According to the article, the administration’s proposal for a 14 percent climb to Labor Department funding for fiscal year 2022, totaling $14.2 billion, must undergo negotiations in both chambers of Congress.

It remains a mystery whether or not congress will agree with Walsh in regards to personnel and hiring. Senator Mike Braun asked Walsh if there has been an increase in OSHA complaints to warrant the $73 million rise in OSHA spending that the administration sees for the upcoming fiscal year beginning October 1.

“I would like to get OSHA back to where we’re doing a lot more collaboration of working with businesses to make sure we’re creating safe worksites across America, rather than having to respond to a tragedy,” Walsh said. “And we’re not there yet. The increase that we’re looking for is to build back the OSHA department, build back the Department of Labor to pre-the-last-five-years.”

The Senate’s consideration of DOL spending comes as the House Appropriations Committee figures out its fiscal 2022 labor proposal where democrats are seeking $2.1 billion for worker-protection agencies, including OSHA. This is a proposed increase of $305 million above current levels and $1 million more than the administration requested.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2022

    May 2022

    Featuring:

    • WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
      How Wearable Technology is Transforming Safety and the Industrial Workplace
    • TRAINING: CONFINED SPACES
      Five Tips to Improve Safety in Confined Spaces
    • INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
      Monitor for Asbestos to Help Save Lives
    • PPE: FALL PROTECTION
      Fall Protection Can Be Surprising
    View This Issue