Today's News

AFL-CIO: "Incredibly weak OSHA penalties" must be increased (4/29)

April 29, 2010
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

Each workday, it’s likely that 14 workers won’t come home because they will be killed on the job, according to the most recent statistics, according to an AFL-CIO blog post written by the union’s Mike Hall.

The AFL-CIO’s 19th annual workplace safety report, “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect,” also reports that in 2008, along with the 5,214, workers killed, another 50,000 workers died from occupational diseases, while at least 4.6 million workers were reported injured, unreported injuries could push that total to as many as 14 million workers.

According to Hall: “The vast majority of workplace deaths and injuries could be prevented if protective safety and health measures were followed. But the fact is that for too many employers, the safety of workers is secondary, taking a back seat to production. For some employers, there is a total and blatant disregard for workers. Worker safety requirements and other worker protections are totally ignored.

“When workers are killed on the job, the report notes that employers face ‘incredibly weak penalties.’ The median penalty in 2009 was just $5,000 in fatality cases investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). In 2009, when an employer was cited for a serious safety violation, the average OSHA penalty was just $965.

“In addition, the report says OSHA’s inspector workforce is ‘woefully inadequate,’ with just 2,218 inspectors to monitor the 8 million workplaces that fall under OSHA’s jurisdictions. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says, ‘There is no question that eight years of neglect and inaction by the Bush administration seriously eroded safety and health protections, and put workers’ lives in danger.’

“In those eight year, according to ‘Death on the Job,’ safety and health standards were repealed, withdrawn and blocked. The job safety budget was cut and blocked. Voluntary employer compliance replaced strong enforcement. And the report adds: ‘In the absence of strong government oversight and enforcement, many employers cut back their workplace safety and health efforts.’

Since the Obama administration took office, OSHA and MSHA are ‘returning to their mission to protect workers’ safety and health.’ The report notes that strong advocates have been appointed to head the agencies, workplace safety standards that had been stalled under the Bush administration are moving forward and the job safety budget has been increased and more inspectors hired.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

12/11/14 11:00 am EST

Why Flame Resistant Workwear? Understanding Workplace Hazards and OSHA Compliance

By defining the leading causes of flash fires, electric arc and molten metal splatter, we will address the ways in which companies can better protect their employees from such hazards through proper staff outfitting. In the topic, we will discuss the benefits of – and recent developments to – flame-resistant workwear and what to consider when creating a program for your employees.

ISHN Magazine


2014 December

Check out ISHN's last issue of the year, which features articles about distance learning, foot protection and confined space.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - SEPTEMBER 2014

ISHN FDO SEPTEMBER 2014For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THE SEPTEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE


Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.