Labor Secretary Announces Plans to Enhance Enforcement for Employers Who Defy Safety and Health Regulations

Employers who expose their workers to serious safety and health hazards and who continue to defy worker safety and health regulations will be subject to an enhanced enforcement policy unveiled by Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.

"The majority of employers in our country consider the health and safety of their workers a priority and strive to do their utmost to ensure their well being," said Chao. "Still, there are those who, despite OSHA's enforcement and outreach efforts, continually disregard their very basic obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This enhanced enforcement policy is meant for them."

OSHA's Enhanced Enforcement Policy will focus on those employers who have received "high gravity" citations. High gravity citations are issued when an employer's violations are considered to be at the highest level of severity.

The policy focuses on five specific areas that will be strengthened: (1) follow-up inspections; (2) programmed inspections; (3) public awareness; (4) settlements; and (5) federal court enforcement. This initiative impacts establishments that received OSHA citations with the highest severity of willful violations, multiple serious violations at the highest level of severity, repeat violations at the originating establishment, failure-to-abate notices, or a serious or willful violation associated with a fatality.

"No worker should be injured or killed on the job and no employer should ignore their responsibility to obey the law," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "This policy will focus on the high gravity violators and will put more tenacity and teeth in our enforcement practices. Our goal is to assure compliance and a safe workplace for all workers."

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