Institutional Mechanisms for Converting Sporadic Agency Decisions into Systematic Risk Management Strategies

OSHA, the Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
  • Arthur Oleinick
  • Lynn D. Disney
  • Karen S. East
Part of the Contemporary Issues in Risk Analysis book series (CIRA, volume 1)


The explosive growth of federal responsibility for risk management in health and safety areas is generally well known. Table 1 illustrates the broad statutory responsibilities of three major federal agencies,1 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), none of which existed before 1970. An estimate2 of the work load imposed by OSHA, CPSC, and EPA on the federal appellate judiciary3 is given in Table 2. In the case of the Courts of Appeal, no less than 1.3% of all cases with a published opinion involved OSHA, CPSC, or EPA. In view of the enormous controversy surrounding the passage of the laws administered by these agencies, it is perhaps not surprising that these three agencies would account for such a comparatively large share of the appellate work load so soon after their creation. Moreover, the percentages by themselves underestimate the amount of work involved because, at least in the cases involving challenges to standards, the courts have had to review massive4 records containing highly technical information from the fields of medicine, toxicology, engineering, and economics. Quite clearly, risk management problems have had a major impact on both the executive and judicial branches.


Risk Management Supra Note Environment Protection Agency Cotton Dust Consumer Product Safety Commission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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    The proposed phased standard-setting process differs from that contained in the current OSHA cancer policy, 29 C.F.R. 1990 (1982), in that the first phase proposes a generic decision on what constitutes a significant risk of material impairment.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur Oleinick
    • 1
  • Lynn D. Disney
    • 1
  • Karen S. East
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Occupational HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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