David Michaels, PhD, MPH, is the U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health. He is an epidemiologist and a nationally recognized leader in the scientific community's efforts to protect the integrity of the science on which public health and regulatory policies are based. Before joining OSHA, he was Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health.

From 1998 to 2001, Dr. Michaels served as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environment, Safety and Health. In that position, he was the chief architect of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, the historic initiative to compensate nuclear weapons workers who contracted occupational illnesses as a result of exposure to radiation, beryllium and other hazards. The program has provided more than $6 billion in payments to sick workers and the families of deceased workers. Learn more about Dr. Michaels.

OSHA Saves Lives and Jobs

by Dr. David Michaels

“OSHA doesn’t kill jobs; it helps prevent jobs from killing workers.”

I have been promoting that message since I became head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration almost three years ago. It is supported by empirical evidence—and now—it’s been confirmed by a peer-reviewed study published in Science, one of the world’s top scientific journals. Not only that, the new study, conducted by professors at the University of California and Harvard Business School, shows that OSHA inspections save billions of dollars for employers through reduced workers compensation costs.

The study, “Randomized Government Safety Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries with no Detectable Job Loss,” found that workplace injury claims dropped 9.4% at randomly chosen businesses in the four years following an inspection by the California OSHA program, compared with employers not inspected.