OSHA Rejects GAO Poultry Recommendations: Sees No Problem With Workers’ Restroom Access

In a surprising and disappointing apparent rollback of OSHA’s enforcement policy related to poultry inspections, Acting Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt has rejected recommendations from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) designed to address findings that poultry workers are intimidated about reporting health and safety problems to OSHA, particularly about their inability to get bathroom breaks. The GAO…

OSHA Enforcement Update: Large Cases, More Press Releases.

At a Congressional hearing last month, Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta extolled the virtues of compliance assistance, cooperation over confrontation and the Voluntary Protection Program. But he also repeated several times that the agency’s compliance assistance program “has to be balanced by a vigorous enforcement program” and especially when the employer engages in repeated and willful…

OSHA to the Public: ‘You Can’t Handle The Truth!’

OSHA has engaged in a furious flurry of press activity over the past month. Well, “furious” by Trump-OSHA standards. By anyone else’s standards, it’s still pathetic. OSHA has issued an astonishing total of six press releases since the beginning of August.  This is, of course, practically nothing compared with the more than 50 large cases…

OSHA Issues Largest Workplace Violence Citation in its History. Good indication for the Future?

Although I am frequently critical of OSHA under the Trump administration, never let it be said that I have failed to praise the agency when they do something good. On August 11, OSHA announced that on June 29, the agency had issued a $207,690 failure to abate citation and fine against UHS of Westwood Pembroke, Inc. –…

Press Releases Reduce Workplace Injuries. So Why Has OSHA Stopped Issuing Them?

I’ve been writing (over and over again) about OSHA’s failure to issue more than a tiny number of enforcement-related press releases since the beginning of the Trump administration, despite the fact that they actually educate employers and workers, and apply pressure on employers who may need a bit of urging to provide a safe workplace.…

No Excuse: Confined Spaces Continue to Kill

I wrote a few weeks ago about the death of three workers in a confined space incident where the initial worker passed out and two would-be rescuers died attempting to rescue the original victim.  Last week, OSHA cited Douglas N. Higgins, Inc. and its related contracting company,  McKenna Contracting with 10 “serious” violations totaling $119,507…

OSHA Enforcement vs. Compliance Assistance: Myth vs. Fact

One of the most persistent — and distorted — arguments in the health and safety community is about how best to protect workers:  enforcement or compliance assistance? Republicans constantly accuse Democrats of ignoring the benefits of cooperation with employers and accuse them of focusing exclusively on enforcement and confrontation. That accusation is demonstrably false, but…