Tag Archive for ‘Occupational Safety and Health Administration’
With limited staff, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) relies heavily on its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, a broad workplace safety program which currently has more than 500 businesses are on its list of bad actors. They include corporate giants such as DuPont and International Paper, each with tens of thousands of employees, as well as more than 300 construction firms. The effort faces an uncertain future under the Trump administration.
When we hear about shootings, bank robberies, or home invasions, we expect the perpetrators to be arrested, tried, and punished appropriately if they are found guilty. When an employer ignores workplace safety and causes a worker to be seriously injured or killed on the job, it is just as criminal, yet arrests and prosecutions are rare. Why does our justice system so often shield businesses, CEOs, and other executives from criminal charges when they gamble with workers’ lives?
Big railroads are often targeted by complaints of illegal retaliation against whistleblowers who disclose safety hazards or report on-the-job injuries. A recent $1.25 million damage award to a former BNSF Railway Co. employee spotlights what critics say is the unjust punishment sometimes meted out to railroad workers who report injuries or safety problems.
The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration isn’t adequately protecting whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office. Since Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002, little more than 2 percent of worker requests for whistleblower status have been granted.