DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.

Monday, May 03, 2010

AIHA Testifies Before Senate HELP Committee

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) President-elect Michael Brandt testified last Thursday at the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) hearing on behalf of AIHA. The committee’s hearing explored strategies for strengthening enforcement and creating an atmosphere of compliance in mines and other dangerous workplaces. Various stakeholders in the mining and labor industries, including Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels, also testified before the committee.

In his testimony, Brandt indicated that AIHA supports increasing penalties for egregious and willful violations of OSHA rules and regulations; OSHA’s efforts to ensure that compliance officers achieve professional certification as CIHs and CSPs; and an agency approach in which stronger penalties and enforcement are balanced by more compliance assistance and supporting efforts to develop occupational health and safety professionals.

"AIHA members put the health and safety of people first, and that is why AIHA supports stronger penalties and enforcement as well as good and reasonable standards. America’s workers deserve it," Brandt said.

The association believes that worker health and safety can be improved by:

- Showing the value (including financial and other benefits) of health and safety to employers and employees.

- Holding employers who willfully disregard the law accountable by increasing penalties and enforcement for those who fail to protect workers. Active enforcement would ensure that all organizations are complying with OSHA regulations. This would level the playing field for all businesses, particularly the compliant.

- Continuing and funding compliance assistance programs such as VPP and providing adequate resources to assist small and medium-size businesses.

- Requiring injury and illness prevention programs in every workplace.

"While most employers are ‘doing the right thing’ with investment in healthy and safe workplaces, there are still too many who avoid this investment in their workers because they feel the investment is not worth the cost. It is these employers who must be educated about the benefits of providing a safe and healthy workplace, and if education does not affect their decision making behavior, they must be held accountable for making decisions that injure, kill, or sicken workers," Brandt stated.

For additional information on the "Putting Safety First: Strengthening Enforcement and Creating a Culture of Compliance at Mines and Other Dangerous Workplaces" hearing, visit http://help.senate.gov

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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