OSHA and Department of Justice DOJ Step Up Criminal Enforcement of OSHA Violations

March 4, 2016

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with the Department of Justice, are cracking down on OSHA penalties and increasing criminal sentences for those who violate the law in order to protect workers.

According to the DOJ’s Environmental Crimes Section chief, prosecutions for breaking these laws are open to “the ones making the decisions that lead to the deaths of others.” Managers, corporate officers, and supervisors are just a few people in the field that are open to the stricter enforcement or prison sentences in an effort to promote a “new world of worker safety.”

You should take a look at your business and carefully consider your actions. Employers who have an incident involving a young worker, an incident that results in death, or an incident that releases toxins to the environment are all susceptible to criminal punishment, high fines and jail time.

Business owners and mangers also need to talk to their staff, so that the staff knows their rights in case of an investigation. Staff members need to know they cannot destroy or dispose of documents or other evidence in the case if there is a possibility OSHA will want it.

Don’t wait to educate your staff on these stricter laws. Review safety laws and be sure that your company isn’t in violation of any laws prior to an incident occurring.

Thanks to our friends, the National Wood Pallet and Container Association, for bring this issue to our attention in their January-February 2016 issue of Pallet Central Magazine. This information is provided by Adele L. Abrams from the law office of Adele L. Abrams, of Beltsville, MD. If you’d like to discuss this article with Adele, she can be reached at 301.595.3520 or at her website here.

If you have any questions, or if you would like more information, please contact WMPA’s Philip Bibeau at 978.874.5445. 

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