According to data obtained by NBC News, the number of federal workplace safety inspectors within the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fallen under the Trump administration. The agency has reportedly lost 40 inspectors from attrition since President Donald Trump took office, and the Trump administration hadn’t made any new hires as of October 2, 2017.
The decrease in inspectors brings the total inspection force to fewer than 1,000 and aligns with President Trump’s campaign to slowly shrink the federal bureaucracy. OSHA is one of several federal agencies experiencing personnel losses and unfilled vacancies.
OSHA workplace safety inspectors enforce federal safety requirements in workplaces across the country and can penalize employers for infringing upon them. Several states also have their own state programs that perform similar functions.
Labor Department spokesman Eric Holland said that the agency has hired several inspectors since early October and is in the process of recruiting more than two dozen more, but he wouldn’t specify exactly how many new inspectors had been hired.
…In the months after President Donald Trump took office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lost 40 inspectors through attrition and made no new hires to fill the vacancies as of Oct. 2, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The departing inspectors made up 4 percent of the OSHA's total federal inspection force, which fell below 1,000 by early October.
OSHA's reduced staff reflects Trump's broader effort to slow the growth of the federal bureaucracy and is a part of the mass departure of civil servants across the government, from the Internal Revenue Service to the Environmental Protection Agency.
OSHA is one of the many federal agencies where hiring has stalled in Trump's first year and mounting vacancies remain unfilled. Some worker advocates and former officials worry that staffing delays are undermining the work of a small but critical institution responsible for protecting the health and safety of American workers.