OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels testified at a House of Representatives committee hearing yesterday that he “greatly appreciates the work of this committee in proposing legislation that would significantly increase OSHA’s ability to help protect American workers.”

Among Dr. Michaels’ comments:

“OSHA’s current penalties are not large enough to provide adequate incentives, especially for large employers.”

“The current penalties do not provide an adequate deterrent.”

“Criminal penalties in the OSH Act are also inadequate for deterring criminal wrongdoing… The criminal penalty provisions of the OSH Act have not been updated since the law was enacted and are weaker than virtually every other safety and health or environmental law.”

“The lack of any requirement for employers to abate hazards during the contest period also seriously undermines the effectiveness of OSHA’s already low penalties.”

“We applaud the important work this committee has done…”