Date of Award

9-24-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Willard W. Radell, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

David Chambers, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Charles J. McCollester, Ph.D.

Abstract

This research examined the effectiveness of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on reducing occupational injuries and fatalities in the United States. This research examined factors that may contribute to the success or failure of the agency to meet its mandate. Agency, economic, and workforce factors were considered to see how they influence occupational safety. This research used available data from BLS, NIOSH, and OSHA and OLS regression models to determine the impact of the agency on occupational injuries and fatalities. A consistent time-series was developed for occupational fatality data that reconciled historic data and current fatality data. This time-series was regressed using agency, economic, and workforce factors to determine if the changes in occupational fatalities were due to OSHA. Regression models were also developed using occupational injury and illness data and agency, economic, and workforce factors to determine if changes in injury and illness data were due to OSHA. This research found that higher budget allocations for the agency resulted in less incidents of occupational injury and illness. Budget allocations in all of the models tested using injury data showed that higher budget allocations resulted in less occupational injuries. Other models using workforce and economic factors were not free from fatal autoregression and could not be used. However, the results for occupational fatalities were not as clear and did not produce models free from fatal autoregression when using agency, economic, or workforce factors with the overall number of occupational fatalities. When using the year-to-year difference in fatalities, the number of inspections had the desired results. The results of the OLS regression models using occupational injury data indicates that the agency budget is an important and significant variable in ensuring that the agency meets it mission. A recommendation from this research is to ensure that agency is adequate funded and showing a presence in the workplace through enforcement and outreach activities.

Share

COinS