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    Post: OSHA at 40

    Posted by Sharon on 1/14/11

    "The OSH Act has not been significantly updated since it
    became law and OSHA is hopelessly overmatched, struggling
    to oversee a 21st century workplace with 20th century
    tools. Nearly 5,000 American workers pay the price every
    year—with their lives.

    OSHA is woefully understaffed, given the magnitude of its
    task. A mere 2,000 inspectors endeavor to cover more than 7
    million worksites. The sanctions they can use against
    employers who routinely flout the law are too weak to
    function as deterrents.

    When violations are discovered—all too often after the
    tragic fact—the penalties are laughable. The average
    penalty for a violation resulting in a worker’s death is
    only about $4,000.

    Criminal penalties are nearly impossible to impose, even in
    cases of reckless disregard for workers’ lives. As a
    result, far too many employers make the calculation that it
    is simply cheaper to pay the fine, if they are one of the
    few who are caught, than it is to invest in a safe

    ..."A whole new approach has been proposed by OSHA Director
    David Michaels. His new Injury and Illness Prevention
    Program Standard, if enacted, would require employers to
    assess their workplaces, determine what hazards are
    present, and come up with solutions".....

    OSHA at 40: Time for a Makeover
    Tom O’Connor
    | January 14, 2011

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