Smith, Robert Stewart
October 1986
ILR Review;Oct86, Vol. 40 Issue 1, p35
Academic Journal
This paper questions the validity of allegations by the General Accounting Office in 1979 that OSHA was then allocating more of its resources to investigating worker complaints than the quality of those complaints warranted. Specifically, the author finds that complaint-initiated inspections and "general schedule" inspections (those made on the basis of targeting criteria developed by OSHA) were similarly productive in uncovering safety violations in 1977-79. The findings also suggest that the interindustry distribution of complaints closely matched the distribution of general schedule inspections; complaints were not used by unionized workers as a weapon in negotiations; and the 1980 changes in complaint handling that were enacted in response to the GAO's report did not improve the "yield" of complaint-initiated inspections relative to that of general schedule inspections.


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