Report calls for OSHA reforms


New report says OSHA reforms are needed.

The Center for Progressive Reform is calling for legislative and policy changes to ensure a higher standard of worker safety throughout the nation. Last week, the nonprofit organization issued a report titled, "The Next OSHA: Progressive Reforms to Empower a New OSHA."

The report outlines a need for stiffer criminal penalties to be imposed on employers who knowingly violate safety regulations, leading to the death of a worker. It also calls for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to be able to issue compliance orders, where companies would have to immediately institute necessary safety changes or risk being shut down.

A recent In These Times article points out that the maximum criminal penalty an employer faces for a willful violation resulting in the death of a worker is six months in jail. The same article then compares this to the penalty for chasing a wild burro, also known as a donkey, onto federal property – a felony carrying a maximum of one year in jail.

Thomas McGarity, one of the authors of the study from The Center for Progressive Reform, contends that people on both sides of the political aisle need to do more to make American workers safe.

“You make an example of a few scofflaw employers," McGarity told In These Times. "You would go after not just the the corporation, but the corporate official and you would put him in jail."

According to another report issued in April by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), 25 percent of all new OSHA rules between 1981 and 2010 took more than 10 years to be issued. The report focused on the red tape that OSHA must cut through to implement higher standards of worker safety.

As reform happens and new safety regulations become official, online OSHA training can help companies keep management as well as employees up to date. Online evaluations can help gauge where a worker's knowledge of safety standards is and what gaps need to be addressed before they enter a job site.

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