In a recent speech, OSHA administrator David Michaels acknowledged that his agency is under attack as part of the debate on the role of government.
Michaels noted that critics say OSHA enforcement is counterproductive because it’s confrontational, rather than cooperative.
“OSHA regulations slow the growth of business and are especially hard on small businesses, [critics] say,” Michaels explained during a speech to the group Public Citizen. “Let me say this as clearly as I can: OSHA is not working to kill jobs; we’re here to stop jobs from killing workers.”
Regarding President Obama’s recent order to review regulations’ effects on business, especially small companies, Michaels said OSHA regulations cost less than expected and they don’t kill jobs.
Michaels also noted that OSHA’s hands are tied because of maximum caps on the fines it can issue. For example, the maximum for a serious violation is $7,000.
OSHA should work with state and local prosecutors more often to file criminal charges against companies, Michaels also said.
His speech was the first of a number Michaels will be making for OSHA’s 40th anniversary. OSHA was started on April 28, 1971.