Pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the administration focus was to ensure worker safety and health in the United States by working with employers and employees to create better working environments (OSHA, 2006).
Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act was passed to provide employees with a safe place to work with uniform standards. Prior to the act, there was lack of state legislation protecting employees against hazards. OSHA, under the authority of the Department of Labor, enforced this act. Companies received penalties and abatement (deduction) orders when the employer violates the OSH Act. The penalties range from $0 to $70,000 and may include criminal sanctions and higher fines up to $500,000 where an employer acted willfully and caused an employee's death. Employers may contend that compliance with a health or safety standard would subject the employees to a greater hazard than what is prevented by the compliance. In defense, the employer must show:
a. The hazards of compliance with the standard are greater than the hazards of non-compliance.
b. Alternative means of protection are unavailable.
c. A variance from the secretary of labor was unavailable or inappropriate (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2007).
Another defense is reckless behavior on the part of the employee, when an employer took all reasonable steps to prevent a hazard but the employee's own reckless conduct created the accident.
There are differing types of regulations, specific regulations and the general duty clause of the act. Specific regulations generally apply across the board of all types of employers, such as adequate safety measures and the continual training requirement. The general duty clause of the act is broader and protects employees against certain hazards in the workplace where no other OSHA standard would address the condition. Under the United States Environmental Protection Agency... [continues]
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