The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration may be able to soon expand its worksite inspections and reports with the hiring of a new team of agents.
Alexander Acosta, director of the Department of Labor, has announced that OSHA has hired 76 new inspectors within the last year. Those agents are now in the process of being trained.
That training process could last as long as three years before the agents are actually allowed to do their own on-site inspections.
According to agency numbers, in the last two years OSHA has undertaken roughly 32,000 on-site workplace inspections, correcting, in the process, some 135,000 identified worksite hazards.
Among the actions undertaken by the agency so far this year was a fine of just under $529,000 to the T.D. Fraley & Sons contracting company in Springfield, Virginia for a series of scaffolding violations.
The Crown Roofing company of Sarasota, Florida has been hit with fines totaling more than $265,000 for a series of violations, several of which pertained to allowing crews to work without fall protection.
Secretary Acosta has told the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services that even though employment has increased substantially across the country in the last two years, the numbers and rate of both fatal and nonfatal injuries has actually declined.
At the same time OSHA’s penalty fees have been upped to $13,260 this year for both serious and other-than-serious worksite violations.
That same amount could be assessed for companies per day for a failure to abate any violations, with a fee of nearly $133,000 for a company engaged in willful or repeated violations.
Signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1971, OSHA operates under the purview of the Department of Labor.
By Garry Boulard
Get stories like these right to your inbox.