Want a signal of how serious OSHA is about ramping up enforcement?
The agency is redirecting funding from its Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) to free up more resources for enforcement in the tight economy.
OSHA doesn’t have to receive tons more federal funding to ramp up inspections. All it has to do is shift money away from the “helpful” programs established during the Bush administration and toward enforcement.
In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, acting OSHA administrator Jordan Barab said, “We need to better utilize the resources that we already have. In order to direct more of OSHA’s existing resources into enforcement and to provide time to address concerns in an upcoming GAO Report on the efficacy of OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program, I have informed the field staff that we will suspend the previous administration’s practice of establishing goals for new Voluntary Protection Program sites and Alliances.”
What else is OSHA planning to do to beef up enforcement?
OSHA’s acting administrator Jordan Barab plans to work with the Justice Department on increasing prosecution of employers that repeatedly violate safety laws. Watch for more prison sentences for owners and managers who repeatedly flaunt safety regulations.
Barab also plans to replace the failed Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP) with a new Severe Violators Inspection Program. The EEP was recently criticized in an inspector general’s report which said it failed to adequately identify and inspect major companies with repeat violations.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are pushing legislation to increase the amounts of OSHA fines and prison sentences for owners and managers in workplace fatality cases.