OSHA Announces Stepped-Up Enforcement For Bad Actors

Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao has announced a new initiative to have the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) zero in on employers who continually expose their workers to “serious”
safety and health hazards. She says such offenders will be subject to “enhanced enforcement
policies” on the part of OSHA.

In making the announcement, Chao said “The majority of employers in our country consider
health and safety of their workers a priority and strive to do their utmost to ensure their well
being, but there still are those who continually disregard their very basic obligations under the
Occupational Safety and Health Act.” OSHA will focus on companies that have received “high gravity”
citations, and the agency will take steps to ensure that remedial actions are taken. These will
include more follow-up inspections, programmed inspections based on the agency’s Site Specific
Targeting Process, new procedures for settlements and publicity about companies that are not in

In connection with the new policy, OSHA has sent letters to some 14,000 workplaces that have
had the highest incidents of occupational safety and health problems. Those companies that have
received notices have had six or more lost time injuries per 100 workers. The national average is
2.8 injuries per 100 workers. An alphabetical listing by states is available on the OSHA website

March 2003