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
| January 14, 2011
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