Tuesday, December 02, 2003

FLASH! OSHA Does Something Right

OSHA has decided to appeal the "Ho Decision" by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission which overturned OSHA's “egregious penalty” policy, where the agency could fine an employer for each instance of a workplace violation even when they apply to the same standard.

Egregious citations are one of the only means OSHA has to bring significant penalties down on the heads of particularly bad employers who are fully aware that they may be killing their employees. Without the ability to inflict large penalties or to bring criminal violations, the Bush administration has succeeded in moving OSHA yet one more step toward becoming a completely toothless tiger.

The American Society of Safety Engineers supported OSHA's decision
"ASSE's members are concerned that the Ho decision improperly limits OSHA's ability to continue enforcement actions under the egregious conduct policy, a necessary tool for OSHA to make the worst employers accountable for their willful failure to protect workers from known safety and health risks," ASSE President James 'Skipper' Kendrick Kendrick stated in a letter sent to Assistant Secretary Henshaw today. "If allowed to stand, this decision would be an unacceptable step backwards in the federal government's ability to enforce this nation's occupational safety and health standards against those who deserve enforcement attention the most."