OSHA has long bemoaned that the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSH Act”) does not allow OSHA to issue penalties sufficiently high enough to deter noncompliance. While reasonable minds can disagree about the sufficiency of the OSH Act’s penalty structure or whether most employers strive to provide safe and healthy workplaces out of fear of enforcement, few can question OSHA’s creative use of “alternative tools” to incentivize compliance. Foremost among those tools is OSHA’s power of the press.
Every week, OSHA identifies by name several employers that have been cited for occupational safety and health violations. The identification is typically in the form of a press release that is made available nationally and affirmatively fed to news organizations in the employers’ vicinity. In essence, OSHA uses these press releases to let employers know that noncompliance can result in not just a fine, but a heck of a lot of bad PR.
The same thing happens in the criminal justice world. When the police or prosecutor want to make a point, at some point after a high-profile arrest, they will walk the suspect through some very public place or somewhere that a press scrum just happens to be set up. It’s called a Perp Walk, and those readers who watch any version of Law and Order know it well. Dun DUN!
Often the press releases are related to tragic workplace accidents, but in other cases, the press releases reflect OSHA’s enforcement priorities. Either way, they provide important information to employers and health and safety professionals. Each week, we will provide you links to OSHA’s previous week of Perp Walks. Here’s the week of October 24th. Dun DUN!
- October 27 [Region 5 News Release] – 2016 – 10/27/2016 – OSHA cites Coilplus Illinois following fatality investigation at Plainfield facility
- October 27 [Region 5 News Release] – 2016 – 10/27/2016 – OSHA cites Illinois manufacturer after electrician’s first day ends tragically when mobile trailer falls, fatally crushes him
- October 27 [Region 7 News Release] – 2016 – 10/27/2016 – OSHA cites animal feed company for exposing workers to grain handling, electrical hazards at Nebraska facility
- October 27 [Region 5 News Brief] – 2016 – 10/27/2016 – OSHA’s investigation of machine operator’s injuries finds safety guards bypassed at Wisconsin retail bag manufacturer
- October 25 [Region 5 News Brief] – 2016 – 10/25/2016 – OSHA cites national logistics company’s Wisconsin facility for exposing workers to powered industrial vehicle, electrical hazards
- October 25 [Region 5 News Brief] – 2016 – 10/25/2016 – OSHA finds J.M. Smucker’s facility lacks energy control procedures in federal investigation of employee’s amputation injury
- October 25 [Region 6 News Brief] – 2016 – 10/25/2016 – OSHA investigation results in more than a dozen serious violations for Houston commercial furniture manufacturer after machine crushes worker
- October 24 [Region 5 News Release] – 2016 – 10/24/2016 – OSHA cites Ohio vehicle parts manufacturer for failing to protect its workers from machine hazards