Magazine article Occupational Hazards

House and Senate Consider OSHA Reform

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

House and Senate Consider OSHA Reform

Article excerpt

Members of the House and Senate introduced OSHA reform legislation that business groups are praising as a way to increase worker safety without bankrupting companies.

The Safety Advancement for Employees (SAFE) Act - S. 1237, introduced by Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), and H.R. 2579, introduced by Reps. Jim Talent (R-Mo.), Cal Dooley (D-Calif.) and Charles Stenholm (D-Texas) - includes provisions for third-party audits, in which companies that abate identified hazards are exempted for two years from OSHA civil penalties. The bills enable OSHA inspectors to advise an employer how to correct a violation and allow OSHA to issue a warning instead of a citation if the violation is not a threat to worker safety. Employers would be permitted to establish alcohol and substance abuse testing programs.

The bills would put new training requirements on OSHA personnel, prohibit inspection quotas and mandate that 15 percent of OSHA's annual funding be spent on education, consultation and outreach efforts. The bills would require proposed standards to be reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) before becoming law. …

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