Since Donald Trump became President, there have been fewer OSHA safety inspectors. In many cases, inspectors left on their own and were not replaced. This was done as part of an overall plan to reduce the number of federal government workers throughout all agencies. As of October 2017, there were fewer than 1,000 federal inspectors throughout the United States. These departures have raised concerns about whether the government is doing enough to protect New Jersey workers.
OSHA inspectors fulfill a variety of roles including listening to employee concerns and looking for violations on job sites throughout the country. The construction and manufacturing sectors tend to have the highest levels of oversight since they tend to be the most dangerous for workers. While OSHA has said that it is hiring more workers, it is going up against a hiring freeze, budget cuts and other efforts to limit the size of federal agencies.
While OSHA contends that it needs more workers to serve its purpose, not everyone is convinced a need exists. A representative from the Heritage Foundation said that it is good to question whether more workers are needed. Furthermore, there is a belief that cutting the federal workforce could reduce redundancy and waste. In addition to federal inspectors, 21 states have their own OSHA programs.
State and federal laws generally provide protections for workers. However, if unsafe working conditions cause an accident, workers may be entitled to compensation. Unsafe working conditions may involve being exposed to falling debris, excessive dust or anything else that may result in a worker getting hurt or sick.