Many of the OSHA cases that cite “willful” violations present mysteries. The mysteries are why the alleged violations were categorized as willful. These charges are not a mystery to OSHA, but they are mysteries to readers of citations. Since the penalty for a willful violation can be over $130,000, there should not be any mystery about such charges.
In OSHA’s 48-year-old history, the agency has experienced desperate hours on a regular schedule. The agency opened its door in 1971. Before the decade was out a “STOP OSHA” lobbying movement was underway. In 1979, Republican Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania proposed an “OSHA Improvements Act” which would have exempted from inspections all employers, large or small, regardless of industry, with good safety records. It was defeated in 1980.
An OSHA health compliance officer (an industrial hygienist -- IH) recently put me in an ethical dilemma. While conducting “side-by-side” air sampling as the employer’s representative during an OSHA inspection, I observed that the OSHA IH was not sampling for asbestos correctly.
It was around 4:30 in the afternoon on March 25, 1911. Several hundred workers, mostly young women, were nearing the end of their Saturday shift at a blouse or “shirtwaist” factory in New York City. No one is quite sure how, but a massive fire erupted and spread quickly.
Maximum penalties for OSHA violations are set to increase for the first time since 1990 as part of overall federal penalty adjustments mandated by Congress last year. The increases were announced Thursday by the Department of Labor, which issued two interim rules covering penalty adjustments for several DOL agencies, including OSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration and Wage and Hour Division.
Chairman Lankford, Ranking Member Heitkamp and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me here today. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), I am honored to testify before you about how the Department works with regulated entities and other partners to assure the health, safety and dignity of America's workers.
At OSHA, we gather a lot of numbers. They tell us about the health and safety of U.S. workplaces and help us measure our progress in reducing injuries and illness. But numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and that’s definitely true in the case of inspections.
A foundry, its owner and three members of its safety consultant company have been found in criminal contempt by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips after disobeying a court order to allow federal inspectors to investigate a report of an employee at the foundry with an elevated blood lead.
Among the articles in the March 2020 issue of ISHN Magazine, we feature a special report on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and ways to prevent, we look at the 'fatal four' top causes of construction worker fatalities, read the Q&A with Robin Fleming, CEO of ANVL, about giving frontline workers a voice, and much more.