OSHA Regulatory Update is Not Good News for Employers

From Manufacturing & Technology eJournal http://www.mfrtech.com
And Gary W. Auman, Esq.

Pending OSHA legislation makes the employer responsible to make sure employees comply.  It does not place any responsibility on the employees for utilizing their training and equipment. Without such a change the pending legislation will make it almost impossible for a company to avoid OSHA enforcement, no matter how conscientious and safe it is.

OSHA Regulatory Update is Not Good News for Employers
Pending Legislation Does Not Place Any Responsibility on the Employees for Utilizing Their Training and Equipment

In an effort to pass OSHA legislation in 2010, the House recently attached portions of the Protecting America’s Workers Act to the Robert C. Byrd Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010. This action got the OSHA legislation out of committee and ready for a vote on the floor of the House. This legislation is not good news for employers.

Other key points in this article:

  • Bill addresses whistleblower protection.
  • Provide a private cause of action for the employee against the employer if OSHA decided there was not sufficient evidence for it to proceed to court with the employee’s complaint.
  • Creates rights in victims of industrial accidents that result in an OSHA investigation.
  • Require an employer to take immediate abatement action upon receiving the citations, even if the employer intended to file a notice of contest (NOC).
  • A major portion of the new legislation addresses new penalties. 
  • One of the most significant changes in the penalty area is the increase in criminal penalties for willful violations involving a fatality and creating a new category for criminal penalties involving a willful violation resulting in a serious injury.
  • Nothing in the legislation that would relieve employers of full responsibility for the actions of employees on the job.


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