The Department of Labor has reported that it collected $212.5 million in back wages for workers in fiscal year 2003, an increase of 21 percent from 2002 and the most collected back wages in 11 years.
In addition, the department said the number of workers who received back wages in 2003 increased by nearly 30 percent compared to 2002, from 263,593 workers to 342,358.
The department also announced that OSHA conducted 39,817 inspections and cited employers for 83,760 safety and health violations in fiscal year 2003. Compared to 2002, the number of inspections was up nearly 6 percent and the number of violations cited was up 7.6 percent.
The department is touting the enforcement figures as evidence of strong enforcement and compliance-assistance programs. OSHA says it has placed increased enforcement priority on repeat offenders and invested in compliance-assistance tools, programs, and partnerships.
"We never forget that behind every enforcement statistic and legal action is a person who needs our help," said U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao. "That's why I'm pleased to make these announcements today. They are an indication of how seriously this administration takes its commitment to protect the safety and security of America's workers."