Change to Win Health and Safety coordinator Eric Frumin issued the following statement in response to the report released yesterday by the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Labor on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) enforcement failures.
“Today’s report from the Department of Labor on OSHA’s enforcement failures is devastating news for America’s working men and women. As the findings show, dozens of workers died at employers who were previously inspected by OSHA in dangerous and severe situations. It is outrageous that these employers neglected to prevent their workers’ deaths or severe injuries at other locations. If anything can be worse, it is that OSHA, under the Bush Administration, failed to designate these employers for strict action under the Enhanced Enforcement Program that was supposed to prevent further fatalities and serious injuries.
“Given the Bush Administration’s longstanding record of failing to enforce laws related to workers’ rights or protections, we are not surprised by the Inspector General’s horrific findings. We know that President Obama and Secretary Solis share our dismay with this latest account of the Bush/Cheney/Chao years.
“However, nothing can hide the reprehensible behavior of the employers responsible for the abusive treatment of their own workers. The Inspector General’s report identifies huge corporations like Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club and Waste Management, Inc., which should have been designated for Enhanced Enforcement action. These companies â€” and others whose workers have died, like Cintas Corp. and McWane Corp. â€” must finally be held accountable for their coldhearted disregard of their workers’ safety and health. This can no longer be tolerated.
“We call upon Secretary Solis to take urgent action to close the loopholes in OSHA’s inspection programs, and mandate strict follow-up enforcement actions against employers where workers are killed or injured. We also call upon Congress to give OSHA the resources and authority it needs â€” including new criminal enforcement powers â€” to make sure that these employers comply with safety standards, and that these OSHA inspections happen before more workers die from employer negligence and government inaction.”
The full Department of Labor report can be found athttp://www.oig.dol.gov/.
Unions group issues statement regarding report on OSHA's EEP failures (4/2)
April 2, 2009