Safety

AIHA advice for OSHA includes stiffening fines

OSHA Healthcare Connection, August 21, 2012

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has released a white paper that highlights the emerging roles and issues facing OSHA.

The white paper, Perspective on the Role of OSHA in Advancing Occupational Safety and Health for the Nation, makes 17 recommendations addressing OSHA's current approach and opportunities for improved effectiveness in key areas enumerated in the agency's strategic plan and the 2011-2016 strategic plan, including the Department of Labor and the modification of OSHA penalties.

AIHA calls the current maximum penalty structure—$70,000 per violation for willful or repeat violations, $7,000 per day for failure to abate hazards, and $7,000 per violation for other violations—"woefully inadequate" compared to fines from other regulatory agencies. For example, employer fines for breaking environmental laws can be as high as $25,000 per day. Also, OSHA's maximum criminal penalty for a willful violation leading to the death of a worker is six months in jail, compared to 15 years in jail for the serious violation of environmental laws.

Source: Excerpted from Medical Environment Update, August 2012

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