OSHA administrator testifies before congress

Recommends expanding OSH Act

Posted October 13, 2015

Assistant secretary of OSHA, David Michaels, testified before the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections on October 7, 2015. In his opening statement Michaels urged Congress to update the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) to:

  • Increase civil and criminal penalties,
  • Expand OSHA coverage for public employees, and
  • Strengthen whistleblower protection provisions.

Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI), chair of the subcommittee, criticized OSHA for expanding the number of establishments covered by the Process Safety Management Standard through the use of agency memorandums rather than through a rulemaking. Walberg said the change created, “a fairly significant financial impact” for the 3,800 business that were previously exempt from the coverage.

Michaels defended the memos, saying they were intended to improve safety at facilities that use large amounts of chemicals.

Democrats on the subcommittee criticized the funding cut of $38 million for OSHA in the House spending bill. Michaels confirmed that at the current funding level OSHA only has sufficient resources to inspect each job site once every 140 years.

To view a webcast of the hearing see: http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=399397.

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