We recently announced Jordan Barab's appointment as Acting OSHA administrator and, as expected, he is losing no time in making changes. Last week, he testified at a hearing held by the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections of the House Committee on Education and Labor, outlining some immediate OSHA changes. These include:
- the addition of new inspectors under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
- formation of Severe Violators Inspection Program (SVIP). This is a reformulation of the Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP), which will step up inspections and enforcement of large companies with repeat OSHA violations
- the intent to work more closely with the Department of Justice to prosecute serial safety violators
- a new National Emphasis Program of specialized inspections focusing on flavoring chemicals (diacetyl)
- a suspension of establishing goals for new Voluntary Protection Program sites and Alliances so that more resources can be put on enforcement
Lisa Mascaro also discusses the shift to a more aggressive OSHA in the Las Vegas Sun. She notes that various either have been introduced or are expected to be introduced that would strengthen penalties for employers with serious or repeat safety violations and add a new criminal felony category.