Worker Safety Affects Your Bottom Line
In March 2010, Assistant Secretary of Labor, David Michaels, said he wanted to “make it clear that 5,000 preventable worker deaths and 4 million injuries recorded in our Nation every year are expensive, disruptive, wasteful, and completely unnecessary.” The new OSHA administration promises to be more aggressive in making sure everyone obeys the law. The top priority is giving emphasis to strong enforcement. Michaels admits that current OSHA penalties are not big enough to provide sufficient incentives. For example, if you willfully commit a worker safety violation that results in death you are guilty of a misdemeanor, and if you commit a serious violation— those with a high chance of death or serious physical harm—you are subject to a maximum civil penalty of only $7,000. This could change significantly should HR 2067 become law.
With the new OSHA administration and potential new legislation, taking the risk of non-compliance could prove very costly and a bad business decision. And this is not just for heavy industry. Recent serious lab accidents and a couple tragic fatalities have drawn the attention of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. CSB chairman, John Bresland, stated “I believe it is time to begin examining these accidents to see if they can be prevented through the kind of rigorous safety management systems that we and others have advocated in industrial settings.” So, it would only take one serious accident to put you under the microscope.