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OSHA puts workers at risk with delay on safety rules

OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is the nation's premier worker safety agency. Workers in Connecticut and nationwide depend on industry regulations and guidelines to ensure their safety while on a site.

A new report reveals that the agency takes nearly eight years to adopt new safety regulations. Critics believe that these setbacks are primarily the result of procedural and political roadblocks. As compared to other agencies, such as the EPA or the Transportation Department, OSHA averages about 50 percent longer to approve new regulations.

Industry experts and advocates of new regulation believe that the failure to adopt new policies creates dangers for workers and leaves lives at stake. Thousands of workers were put at risk while the agency took an entire decade to produce any regulations on crane safety.

According to reports and OSHA officials, the wait can be blamed on greater procedural requirements, shifting priorities and a higher standard of judicial review. Pressure and litigation from business groups can also limit the ability of the agency to be proactive about creating effective safety policies.

It has been suggested that the OSHA agency should limit the number of hazards evaluated and focus on implementing those regulations first. They should also rely on scientific evaluations, limit duplicating work, and amend the federal law to change the tough standards necessary for OSHA rules.

Source: Insurance Journal, "OSHA Hit for Taking Too Long to Adopt Workplace Safety Rules," Sam Hananel, April 23, 2012.

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