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Workers at Risk

The Failed Promise of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

by Thomas O. McGarity, Sidney A. Shapiro


Examines shortcomings and proposes improvements in OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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Cover image for Workers at Risk

February 1993


Pages 376
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Business/Human Resources

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is not close to meeting its mandate to protect American workers, according to administrative law specialists McGarity and Shapiro. Thousands of men and women are still victims of workplace accidents and occupational disease. The goal of this book is to analyze why OSHA has failed and to suggest what can be done to set it back on track. The book, divided into six parts, evaluates the current status of the protection of workers and provides a history of OSHA regulation. The authors suggest four methods to reduce workplace health and safety risks: (1) better management of OSHA; (2) reduced oversight by the courts and the executive branch; (3) a change in OSHA's legislative mandate; and (4) empowering workers to protect themselves.

This important work will be of interest to scholars and professionals in occupational health, labor economics, labor law, and human resource management.

Table of Contents

OSHA's Failed Promise
The Plight of America's Workers
Regulatory Failure and Reform
OSHA's History
The Nixon/Ford Years: Inauspicious Beginnings
The Carter Years: OSHA on the Move
The Reagan Years: Going Backward
The Reagan Years: Inching Forward
The Reagan Years: Killing Time
The Reagan Years: Tying Up Loose Ends
The Reagan Years: New Initiatives
The Reagan Years: Weakening Enforcement
The Bush Years: An Identity Crisis
Internal Reforms: Better Management for OSHA
Making OSHA More Efficient: Setting Priorities and Eliminating Bottlenecks
More Bang for the Buck: Alternative Methods of Regulation and Implementation
Ensuring Compliance: The Puzzle of Enforcement
External Reforms: Who Is in Charge?
The President's Role: OSHA
OSHRC's Role: The Failure of the Split-Enforcement Arrangement
The Court's Role: Judicial Review and OSHA
External Reforms: Changing OSHA's Mandate
OSHA and Overregulation: Should Cost-Benefit Analysis Apply?
Economics and OSHA: Cost-Benefit Analysis and Underregulation
Modeling EPA: A New Mandate for OSHA
External Reforms: Empowering Workers
Lighting a Fire: When OSHA Is a Reluctant Regulator
Empowering Workers: Enforcing the OSH Act
Empowering Workers: Rethinking Employment Relationships
Selected Bibliography

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