OSHA: 'Deeply Committed to Enforcement'

OSHA Administrator John Henshaw says the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is "deeply committed to strong enforcement" of occupational health and safety regulations.

Henshaw notes that the inspection goals of the agency increased this year, with 400 more inspections targeted for 2002 than in 2001. "And we will meet those goals," he vowed.

Much to the chagrin of many employers, Henshaw revealed the agency plans 1,300 more inspections in 2003 than in 2002.

"Without strong enforcement, our other work [outreach, compliance assistance, etc.] won't be as effective," Henshaw said.

He noted with satisfaction several cases in recent months in which companies or managers were charged under criminal laws for violating OSHA standards. "I'm pleased with those results," admitted Henshaw, adding that the Tyler Pipe Co., one of the employers charged under criminal statutes stemming from workplace safety and health violations, recently agreed to pay a $1.2 million OSHA penalty for safety and health violations.

The Tyler, Texas company pleaded guilty in July to criminal charges that it violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act, leading to the death of an employee. United States Magistrate Judge Judith Guthrie sentenced Tyler Pipe to pay a $250,000 fine and placed the company on probation for one year. (See "Tyler Pipe Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges in Employee Death.")

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