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Bill: Increased OSHA fines

April 28, 2009
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WASHINGTON — A bill was introduced last week by House of Representatives Democrats that would increase fines associated with violations to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration''s (OSHA) Occupational Safety and Health Act, including a new felony category for criminal violations, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
The bill was introduced two years ago, but is seeing more support now that Democrats have a clear majority in the House and an ally in the White House, the story stated.
Democratic Representative Lynn Woolsey said: "While thousands of workers have been saved as a result of OSHA, 16 workers are killed and 11,200 workers are injured or made ill each and every day. This legislation will strengthen OSHA by expanding coverage to millions of workers who are currently unprotected or inadequately protected, increasing civil and criminal penalties for those who violate the law, and by protecting those who blow the whistle on unsafe employer practices."
The proposed legislation would increase civil penalties for willful violations from a maximum of $70,000 to $120,000; the maximum penalty for serious violations would increase from $7,000 to $12,000, the story noted.
The bill would give workers and their families an avenue for challenging reductions in fines OSHA assesses on employers that are often reduced during the appeals process, the story added.
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