According to federal auditors, the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)is too slow to enact new policy and rule changes concerning workplace safety. The Washington Post reports that OSHA takes up to 50 percent longer to approve new regulations than other government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation.
Some critics claim that the additional response time in action is due to OSHA being overly cautious in setting new rules.
“We have created barriers based on false alarms, and the need now is to lower them so that worker protection can proceed again without delay,” said Michael Silverstein, former Washington state OSHA director. “It is no exaggeration to say that lives are at stake.”
According to OSHA officials, rules are in place that slow down the proves. Rule changes have to go through approval and sometimes even legislators. President Barack Obama signed an order last year and urged federal agencies to eliminate procedures that slowed them down or made them less effective. OSHA still has some ways to go.
OSHA implemented 47 new rules between 1980 and 2000. Since 2000 they have only enacted 11 new rules.
“It is simply unconscionable that workers must suffer while and OSHA rule is mired in bureaucracy,” says committee chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.
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