OSHA under fire from DOL Inspector General reports

April 7th, 2009 by Julie Ferguson

OSHA has come under withering criticism in a report from the Department of Labor’s inspector general for improperly enforcing safety and health laws against high risk employers with a history of safety violations and/or fatalities. In summarizing the report, Occupational Health & Safety notes: “The March 31 report says EEP [Enforced Enhancement Program] was mismanaged so badly that OSHA did not comply with EEP’s requirements for 97 percent of sampled cases qualifying for it. No appropriate enforcement action was taken in 29 cases, the IG found — and those employers subsequently experienced 20 fatalities, of which 14 deaths shared similar violations, the report states.”
The report – Employers With Reported Fatalities Were Not Always Properly Identified and Inspected Under OSHA’s Enhanced Enforcement Program (PDF) – summarizes the results of an audit of 325 work place inspections conducted under EEP from 2003 to 2008 in the Atlanta, Chicago, and Dallas regions.

The Pump Handle posts not just about this report, but also about a second report by the DOL Inspector General concerning the services provided by Randy Kimlin. Celeste Monforton discusses remuneration and oversight irregularities in regards to the consulting services of Kimlin, friend of OSHA chief Ed Foulke. According to investigative reporting by Washington Post reporter Jeff Smith, Kimlin’s salary for his contract was “higher than that received by Vice President Cheney, any member of Congress and Foulke himself during that period.” And the contract was awarded without competition: Procurement Violations and Irregularities Occurred in OSHA’s Oversight of a Blanket Purchase Agreement (PDF)

For more commentary and news on these reports:
Claims Journal: Labor Department Enforcement Lacking, Report Finds
OSHA Underground takes issue with the report on weak enforcement of fatalities: IG’s Report Links Weak Enforcement To Job Fatalities and suggests that OSHA Should Request Repayment From Consultant
Washington Post: Initiative On Worker Safety Gets Poor Marks – IG’s Report Links Weak Enforcement To Job Fatalities
AFL-CIO Now Blog: Sweeney: Bush OSHA Failure to Enforce Job Safety Law Cost Workers’ Lives
Associated Press: Labor Department enforcement lacking, probe finds

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