Four bills introduced Thursday by Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.) would improve the enforcement of OSHA rules and regulations among small business owners, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
â€œThe vast majority of NAHBâ€™s members own small businesses and often find themselves unequipped to negotiate OSHAâ€™s reams of regulations and requirements. This legislative package will help to reduce some of the regulatory burdens faced by our members when they try to work within OSHAâ€™s complicated system of due process, and will provide OSHA with greater flexibility to respond to small businesses without sacrificing workplace safety,â€ said NAHB President David Wilson.
H.R. 739, the â€œOccupational Safety and Health Small Business Day in Court Act,â€ would allow OSHA to give businesses more than 15 days to respond to a citation.
H.R. 742, the â€œOccupational Safety and Health Small Employer Access to Justice Actâ€ would make it easier for companies to recover attorneysâ€™ fees when they successfully defend themselves against a citation.
H.R. 740, the â€œOccupational Safety and Health Review Commission Efficiency Act,â€ would add two more administrative law judges to the three-member Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), which hears appeals of violations. At its current size, the commission frequently delays hearings because it does not have a quorum. The measure is designed to address this problem.
H.R. 741, the â€œOccupational Safety and Health Independent Review of OSHA Citations Act,â€ would require judges to defer to the OSHRC when OSHA cases are appealed to the courts.
The four bills are identical to OSHA reform measures passed by the House last spring.
â€œThese bills would improve workplace safety and help to level the playing field for small businesses that seek to defend themselves in OSHA actions that are brought against them,â€ said Wilson. â€œWe urge the House to approve these measures and call on the Senate to introduce similar legislation.â€