GAO has found that while data are incomplete, at least more than 700 of companies under contract with DoD been cited for repeated or willful violations of workplace safety or compensation laws over 2015-2019.
Following a report last year in which GAO said that there were some instances of violations, the 2020 defense budget ordered a more detailed report on DoD contractors, which together account for about two-thirds of government-wide spending on contracts. GAO said that according to OSHA data 727 companies had been cited for one or both types of violation.
While that amounted to only about 1 percent of companies with which DoD had contracted, they accounted for about 12 percent of the department’s contract spending in that time, GAO said, and came from “a range of industries, including manufacturing; professional, scientific, and technical services; and construction.”
The most frequently cited violations of workplace safety laws related to toxic and hazardous substances, protections for machine operators and general environmental control standards. Violations of compensation laws included failure to pay overtime, failure to pay minimum wage and failure to pay minimum wage.
However, it said the OSHA data do not indicate whether the violations involved employees doing work specifically for DoD. Further, some OSHA records of violations do not include company identification numbers, which would be needed to determine if a DoD contractor was involved.