Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Weisberg Wants More Funding, Fewer Appeals

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Weisberg Wants More Funding, Fewer Appeals

Article excerpt

Stuart Weisberg, the new chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, wants to see fewer OSHA contested cases appealed to U.S. courts of appeal.

The commission, he said, should not be a pit stop on the way to a higher court. The commission must do a better job of explaining the rationale behind actions, thus improving the "quality of decisions."

Weisberg, a former staffer on the House Education and Labor Committee, organized the first congressional hearing on ergonomics. He also worked on legislation attempting to increase OSHA's enforcement powers.

In late March, Weisberg met with Occupational Hazards to discuss his plans for the commission:

OH: How would you compare your judicial philosophy with those of past chairmen?

Weisberg: I don't think you can get into philosophy. I believe strongly in the statute and its purpose, which is to save lives, reduce injuries and illness, and reduce exposure to toxic substances.

My goal as chairman is to revitalize and reenergize the agency. I would like to see the review commission ... make a significant contribution to health and safety law. I would like to see the review commission be more than a resting place on the road to the court of appeals.

OH: Is that what it is now?

Weisberg: It has been viewed by some people over the years as serving that function. It was viewed, and should no longer be viewed, as it was during the 1980s, as an outlet store for employers to shop expecting to find significant markdowns in proposed penalties. …

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