Contractors and Safety

September 4, 1996

Contractors and Safety

Federal agencies rarely punish government contractors who violate workplace safety regulations, the General Accounting Office has reported.

Thirty five workers have died since 1987 in accidents associated with safety violations at companies receiving federal contracts. Federal agencies can bar companies from federal contract awards for violating the Occupational Safety and Health Act, but the GAO found that they hardly ever do. Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) requested the report and is sponsoring legislation that would require stricter enforcement of OSHA regulations at federal contractors.

About $38 billion of the $176 billion in federal contracts awarded in 1994 went to companies cited in the GAO report with at least one serious OSHA violation. Of that $38 billion, however, less than $5 billion went to companies where an OSHA violation re sulted in an injury or death. Of the 60,000 companies that received federal contracts in 1994, just 261 were cited in the GAO investigation.

The GAO compared a list of companies receiving more than $25,000 in government contracts in 1994 with OSHA investigations completed that year.

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