Fumble by OSHA

April 29th, 2009 | Sources: Washington Post


asleepatthewheelA Bush administration initiative requiring that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration crack down on companies with a history of job-related deaths has failed, according to a report by the Labor Department.

And that has resulted in dozens of avoidable fatalities.

The highly publicized initiative was designed to include rigorous data collection efforts, site inspections and beefed up rules enforcement at offending facilities.

OSHAinspectorsatworkIt was marred by the inability to detect repeat fatalities due to misspellings of company names and failure to identify instances in which subsidiaries of the same company were involved.

Proper program implementation might have “deterred or abated hazards at the worksites of 45 employers where 58 subsequent fatalities occurred,” wrote Assistant Inspector General Elliot Lewis in the report, obtained by the Washington Post.

The report said that the Bush administration was “suggesting to the public that you’ve got an enhanced enforcement program going for five years, and it’s not enhanced at all,” Celeste Monforton told the Post.

She’s a former OSHA policy analyst who is currently an assistant professor at the GW School of Public Health and Health Services. 

The Big O has yet to appoint a new OSHA director.  

OSHA’s acting director, Donald Shalhoub admitted that his agency is to this day “not targeting the ‘bad actors’ the program is intended for,” but believes that insinuations that additional employees died as a result are “misleading and unfair,” according to the Post.



  1. OSHAPro | 12/05/09

    Just because a company is issued OSHA citations does not mean they are (or are not) in compliance with OSHA reg’s. Sometimes OSHA issues citations incorrectly, or they may not have all the info. Usually the company settles the case without admitting guilt because it is cheaper than going to court to contest the fines, but in this case the company appears to be sticking to their guns. More info about OSHA citations and appeals process can be obtained online at http://www.osha30hourtraining.com if you are interested.

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