Criticisms of OSHA's exemption programs led to some modest changes in the agency's inspection system. BLS revised its 1978 Recordkeeping Guidelines for occupational injuries and illnesses to include broader definitions and some improvements in coverage. Under congressional prodding for a full-scale examination of the accuracy and quality of occupational health and safety statistics, the Labor Department requested the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to examine the quality of injury and illness data and the disease latency factors in the collection of reliable data. Critics approved of these changes, but they maintained that the occupational safety and health statute gave OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health the power to command whatever records they chose in the reporting of injuries and illnesses, and all that the BLS had to do was ask what medical information they needed.
In energy policy statistics, the Reagan Administration terminated the Environmental Information Administration's long-term analysis of the supply and demand for coal, oil, gas, nuclear energy, and alternative fuels. It also eliminated the Industrial Sector Survey, which produced data on industry's conservation efforts, as part of the Administration's broader goal of relying on market forces in energy policy.
The Reagan Administration's goals of deregulation, New Federalism, and reduced federal spending on domestic social programs inevitably promoted a more limited federal role in the provision of domestic policy statistics. The Administration's enormous military budgets and federal deficits provided additional pressure on Congress to accede to the Administration's preference for privatization of the collection of domestic social data. Congress, however, managed to support some incremental changes in OIRA's approach to statistical matters in PRA's reauthorization in 1986. The act required OIRA to hire a trained chief statistician, to integrate statistical functions with other responsibilities in information resources management, and to periodically renew budget, planning, and statistical activities.