The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has rarely been accused of easing pressure on the states in its drive for safety in the work place, but a shift in emphasis has arrived with the Reagan team.
Thorne G. Auchter, assistant secretary of labor and OSHA chief, claims he has halved the number of federal monitors who check on state OSHA programs. Further, he is proposing to reduce the number of OSHA inspectors each state must employ before it can win final certification from the feds for its own occupational safety program.
In the last year of the Carter administration, OSHA said that 1,683 health inspectors were needed in the 22 states and two territories that have chosen to supervise their own OSHA programs. This year, OSHA says, only 499 inspectors will be required in the same states. In Virginia, for example, the Carter administration required 125 inspectors, the Reagan administration 71; in Maryland, Carter required 73, Reagan 42.
Reduced staffing requirements will make it possible for several of those states to receive "final certification," or federal approval, of their OSHA programs. Four states have achieved that level already. None had under Carter, partly because they did not reach the staffing standards. A majority of states have chosen to let the federal government do the entire OSHA job themselves, so they will not have to worry about winning "final" approval.