We asked our readers a series of questions about how OSHA does its job. Here’s what your peers had to say:
Q: How do you feel about OSHA’s recent enforcement efforts?
- They’re just about right: 63%
- They aren’t severe enough: 25%
- They are too severe: 11%.
Q: Do you think OSHA fines are:
- Just about right: 55%
- Not high enough: 28%
- Too high: 17%.
A majority of our respondents think OSHA’s current enforcement is just about right. About one-fourth think they’re not tough enough.
We first posted our survey before the federal 2016 budget was approved which included the mechanism to increase OSHA fines for the first time since 1990. Those who thought OSHA fines weren’t high enough may find it to be good news that the agency’s penalties now, through the 2016 budget law, may increase 75-80% sometime late next year.
Q: Do you favor more criminal prosecution, including jail sentences, of company management when an employee dies on the job due to willful safety neglect by the employer?
- Yes: 59%
- Not sure: 26%
- No: 15%.
While criminal prosecution is still rare, the current administration has, at least, made it known that it will refer fatality cases to prosecutors for potential criminal charges against companies and individuals. As a recent settlement in the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion shows, criminal charges don’t always end up with prison sentences.
Q: How do you feel about OSHA’s proposal to make companies injury logs public?
- In favor: 38%
- Opposed: 31%
- Don’t know/not sure: 31%.
Of all our questions regarding OSHA, safety professionals were most divided on this one. A small plurality are in favor of OSHA’s proposal to publish companies’ injury records online. But, if you add together those who are opposed and those who aren’t sure whether it’s a good idea (62%), it becomes apparent that OSHA hasn’t sold this idea to the safety profession.
We also asked safety pros to rate 21 topics on a 1-5 scale (5 = very important, 1 = not very important). OSHA compliance came out on top with a 4.55 score. OSHA recordkeeping came in third with a 4.25. Six other topics had averages of 4.0 or higher. We’ll tell you more about the results of our survey in a future post.