The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970 sets forth standards for safe work environments. According to the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations), 532,000 lives have been saved since the Act's approval. Although this Act has helped save many lives and has helped regulate the workplace, there are still many faults in the system.
OSHA does not have enough workers to inspect the 8 million workplaces in America. There are almost two thousand federal and state inspectors. This means OSHA has enough federal workers to inspect workplaces every 145 years. There is a new law that will allow OSHA to increase penalties for workplace safety and health violations. Penalties for OSHA violations increase nearly 80 percent next month:
- Former rate $7,000, new rate $12,741 - serious violations
- Former Rate $70,000, new rate $124,709 - willful violations
- Former rate $70,000, new rate $124,709 - repeat violations
- Former rate $7,000, new rate $12,471 - other than serious violations
In 2016, OSHA issued a final silica standard to reduce dust exposure in the construction industry. This rule is likely to prevent at least 600 deaths and 1,000 cases of silicosis each year. In 2015, the Mine Safety and Health Administration created a rule to reduce coal dust exposure and require constant monitoring of dust in underground coal mines. This will prevent thousands of cases of black lung disease.
Many other OSHA rules and regulations are pending. Follow our work injury attorneys on Twitter @brentadamslaw to learn about changes in real time.