What has Obama done for occupational safety and health?
October 10, 2012
The following list was compiled by the Laborer's Health and Safety Fund of North America Life Lines, October, 2012:
- OSHA Advisory Committees have been reinvigorated with new appointments.
- This Administration came into office saying there was "a new sheriff" in town. More inspectors were hired. Under previous administrations OSHA fines were small and provided no incentives for employers. Through administrative changes, OSHA penalties doubled. A new easy way to search the website was created to access all enforcement data (including wage and hour complaints).
- A new program was set up by OSHA to go after "severe violators" who continue to ignore the law. MSHA has a program to pursue "scofflaws" and those who have a pattern of violations.
- Mine safety enforcement has also gotten much tougher and more targeted in the wake of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.
- New OSHA policies were enacted to discourage company incentive programs which discourage and suppress injury reporting.
- OSHA and MSHA also developed new policies to involve family members in all fatality investigations.
- State OSHA plans came under scrutiny and new criteria were developed to evaluate them more fairly and consistently.
- OSHA has also given closer scrutiny to "Voluntary Protection Programs", those who get recognition for having exemplary programs, to ensure they truly deserve recognition.
- OSHA beefed up whistleblower enforcement and created a new office to handle complaints.
- OSHA initiated a new National Emphasis Program to protect workers at nursing homes.
- OSHA created a new office to handle enforcement efforts at chemical facilities.