Sunday, September 27, 2009

The changing face of OSHA

OSHA is starting to show teeth!

You may have heard the rumors. OSHA is stepping up their enforcement activities. In addition to increasing the financial cost of civil penalties, they are increasing the criminal penalties for any employer who willfully violates a standard that causes the employee’s death or serious injury.

With the Obama administration comes new faces and directions for the Department of Labor. OSHA is hiring up to 500 new compliance officers and is back in the enforcement business. The days of voluntary programs and alliances are coming to a close.

OSHA is formulating a “Severe Violators Inspection Program” focused on large companies with a violation history, focuses on mandatory follow up inspections, additional locations within the same company now also targeted and enhanced settlement demands.

With the increased enforcement activity, employer’s need to make sure that they are “doing right by their employees” and can document their compliance.

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