Thursday, December 7, 2006

Criminalizing Construction Site Safety Violations

Hardhat For years, many observers have criticized the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) as not containing sufficient punitive measures to deter employers from engaging in unsafe workplace practices.  The state of affairs is particularly bad in the construction industry.

After a particularly deadly accident in Massachusetts involving scaffolding, lawmakers have decided to take matters into their own hands and propose criminalizing certain construction site safety violations (via HR.BLR.com):

In the wake of the April 2006 collapse of a scaffold in downtown Boston, which killed two construction workers and a passing motorist, Bay State lawmakers are taking a long, hard look at worksite safety violations and proposing jail time for companies that dismiss monetary sanctions as part of the cost of doing business.

If such criminal penalties had been in effect at the time of the Boston scaffolding collapse, the managers of the company involved, Bostonian Masonry, would have faced up to 21/2 years in prison. Currently, the company's only sanction is a fine of $119,000, issued by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

One of the sponsors of this new legislation stated that construction firms view OSHA fines as part of the cost of doing business, "[b]ut criminal prosecutions will get their attention where monetary fines can't."

PS

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/laborprof_blog/2006/12/criminalizing_c.html

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Comments

I wholeheartedly agree that sending the upper management of a company that puts profit above safety like BP to prison for a few years would definitely wake up the industries to the fact that monetary fines are not an option any more. That they will be spending time in jail if they don't change their attitude towards being safe now and profitable later

Posted by: Rick Harter | Jun 27, 2010 6:44:43 AM

I too agree with you, not all of them take site safety very seriously. Just due to the negligence many people are losing their life. A site safety plan is very important, it gives a sense of security for the workers. Nice article, thanks for sharing.


Posted by: Jerome | Dec 7, 2010 7:32:19 PM

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