The Real Deal: OSHA ill-prepared to enforce construction safety: report
Midway through a year in which construction-site deaths are set to reach their largest numbers since the height of the last real estate boom, advocates are placing blame on employers and the regulators tasked with overseeing them.
According to a report released Monday by the nonprofit New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health ahead of a City Council oversight hearing on construction safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is critically overwhelmed when it comes to protecting construction workers in New York state.
In fact, in the 45 years since Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, only once – in 1990 – has it voted to increase the penalties OSHA levies against violators. The result has been fines that amount to a slap on the wrist instead of a major deterrent.
“Many employers tally fines with the cost of doing business instead of prioritizing workers’ safety and health on the job,” the report said. “As a result, construction workers—particularly non-union immigrant workers—often fear they are putting their lives at risk when they step onto a construction site.”
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