“During President Barack Obama’s first year in office, the number of workers killed on the job increased by 3.1%.”
A new report by the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) lays out a set of reforms that could help strengthen and stream line the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the 40-year old agency of the Department of Labor. The report notes that the now-underfunded agency had a ratio of inspectors to workers of 1-to-30,000 in the late 1970s. The ratio has since doubled to 1-to-60,000.
The report is alleged to be putting pressure on President Obama to reform OSHA if re-elected. A consensus is building around the importance of how workers report unsafe conditions and how the agency responds to this information above simply pumping more money into a semi-broken agency.
Labor journalist Mike Elk, in an In These Times Magazine piece, points out in that “during President Barack Obama’s first year in office, the number of workers killed on the job increased by 3.1%.”
Elk highlights a tragedy of the modern labor-management dynamic: the current maximum penalty for killing a worker on the job as a result of a willful safety violation is six months in jail while the penalty for chasing a wild burro onto federal land is a felony with a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
Other suggested reforms include expanding the use of Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine, adjusting civil fines to keep up with inflation, and expanding workers rights to participate in investigations.
Click for Elk’s entire interpretation of the CPR piece.