The Debate Over OSHA
Is it Effective or Not?
When people go to work the one thing they should be able to count on is safety, which is exactly what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), was created to do. You do not expect to be injured in your place of employment, but the one hundred and forty six women working for the Triangle Waist Company unfortunately were killed in a fire that should never have happened. The debate still stands today as to whether or not OSHA is truly effective. OSHA regulations have helped decrease the number of deaths, injuries and illnesses of employees dramatically. In my opinion, OSHA is a necessity in the workplace.
OSHA was created in response to the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1970. In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson was encouraged to create a bill that covered safety in the workplace. President Johnson had an idea that would allow the Labor Department to check businesses for hazardous settings. It was not until December 29, 1970 that President Richard Nixon signed the bill (History and Mission of OSHA). OSHA was produced as an attempt to reduce the extreme number of on the job injuries, illnesses and deaths. Their main goal is to keep their employees safe. By doing so, OSHA can reduce the cost of workers’ compensation insurance. Other benefits also include a decrease in medical expenses, a drop in damaged products and an increase in productivity (Shuput). OSHA requires employers to offer safe working conditions in order to protect their workers while on the job. Employers must also recognize and follow the rules that apply to the workplace, and make sure that their employees use safety protective equipment. Some of the tools businesses need to run safety programs include accident investigation, emergency planning, record keeping, and safety inspections. Employers have certain responsibilities under OSHA. Some of the more important include following OSHA regulations, watching workplace conditions, correctly using safety equipment, identifying dangers using signs, labels, and color codes. They also have to keep record of injuries and report serious accidents or hospitalizations (Shuput).
Employers would rather have their own safety training programs rather than allow the government to order their safety guidelines. Employers feel as though they can provide their employees with better regulations that target their specific wants and needs in the workplace as compared to the general regulations already set by OSHA. They feel as though the government already takes enough of their money and would rather not have another reason to give them more. Some feel the government is out to collect as much money as they possibly can. According to Kellie Crete, a safety and risk manager, “Since the new administration in 2008, the number of inspections from 2008 - 2009 had increased by 167%. Because of this dramatic increase in inspections, fines associated with non-compliant items have significantly increased as well” (Crete). Employees most likely feel that by increasing the number of inspections each year they are at a greater risk of potentially being fined. A common complaint from employers is that OSHA slows them down. OSHA is aware that completing a job safely will always take more time than accomplishing it unsafely. According to Jim White, author of What I Hate About OSHA, “You have to plan and prepare, assemble what is needed, and then follow your plan; that all takes time” (White). Yes, the regulations are tedious but they are only put in place for the benefit of the employer. With these regulations, OSHA helps reduce medical expenses the employer would be required to pay if a worker was injured while on the job. There are a handful of groups that are exempt from following the regulations issued by OSHA. Family workers working on family-owned farms are not technically seen as employees. Therefore, they are exempt from following OSHA...
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