Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, testified before the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and his comments provide a glimpse into the direction he will lead OSHA. The text if his entire testimony can be found on the OSHA website at:
TESTIMONY OF DAVID MICHAELS ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON WORKFORCE PROTECTIONS THE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MARCH 16, 2010
Several highlights of his testimony include:
" Good jobs are safe jobs, and American workers still face unacceptable hazards. More than 5,000 workers are killed on the job in America each year, more than 4 million are injured, and thousands more will become ill in later years from present occupational exposures. Moreover, the workplaces of 2010 are not those of 1970: the law must change as our workplaces have changed."
" Because OSHA can visit only a limited number of workplaces each year we need a stronger OSH Act to leverage our resources to encourage compliance by employers. We need to make employers who ignore real hazards to their workers' safety and health think again. We need to bring OSHA into the 21st century."
" Monetary penalties for violations of the OSH Act have been increased only once in 40 years despite inflation during that period. Unscrupulous employers often consider it more cost effective to pay the minimal OSHA penalty and continue to operate an unsafe workplace than to correct the underlying health and safety problem. The current penalties do not provide an adequate deterrent. This is apparent when compared to penalties that other agencies are allowed to assess."
Two programs of focus for the “New OSHA” will be severe violators and increased penalties. Below is a link to a Press Release with more details.
The following link is embedded in the Press Release and it provides interesting information on increased fines.
Some of the highlights are:
- Expect average penalties to go from $1,000 to $3,000 to $4,000
- History Reduction – no longer 3 years, but 5 year history
- History Increase – If cited in last 5 years for high gravity serious, willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violation; a 10% increase in their penalty
- Repeat Violations – Increase from 3 to 5 year history
- Informal Conference Considerations – any reduction over 30% will have to be approved by the Regional Administrator
- New Penalty Reduction Structure for the size of the company
- No more 10% good faith reduction for employers in a strategic partnership
For more information on OSHA, contact the SMACNA Safety and Health Department at email@example.com.