Responding to The New York Times' series, “When Workers Die,” the American Society of Safety Engineers' President Skipper Kendrick wrote a letter to the newspaper saying it's time for the government to re-evaluate penalties for employers whose willful misconduct leads to a worker's death.

Congress should take the lead, says Kendrick, but OSHA should call on stakeholders to examine existing policies that lead to very few cases being prosecuted.

Kendrick does not spell out what changes should be made to the current process, which finds OSHA reluctant to pursue criminal prosecutions because of a lack of hard evidence in most cases, and the Justice Department disinterested in taking on workplace fatality cases because penalties are meager, according to The Times.

Most employers take responsible actions to protect employees, according to Kendrick, but the deaths highlighted in the series of articles were "easily avoidable," he says. "A better way" must be found "to hold employers responsible for willfully disregarding their employees’ safety and health."