Employees, especially those who work in factories or around construction sites, are often faced with dangerous machines and equipment that can result in burns, injuries or even fatalities. That is why it is extremely important that safety regulations are constantly updated. But according to the Associated Press, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) doesn't believe that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is doing its job quickly enough.
On average, it takes approximately eight years for OSHA to create and implement safety regulations, according to the AP. Other government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department, write up new regulations in far less time.
''We created barriers based on false alarms, and the need now is to lower them so that worker protection can proceed again without delay,'' Michael Silverstein, former director of the Washington state OSHA program, said in a recent Senate hearing. "It is no exaggeration to say that lives are at stake."
OSHA officials have said that new safety standards take far longer to review than regulations created by other government agencies because these rules are forced to go through a much stricter approval process. However, Democratic Iowa senator, Tom Harken, said during the hearing that it was unacceptable that OSHA is bound by bureaucratic red tape while people are being hurt on the job.
Since the 1990s, OSHA has approved just over 10 safety regulations. During the 1980s, the government agency approved almost 50.
As safety standards may be getting updated even more frequently, company managers should do all they can to ensure compliance with OSHA like keeping track of new regulations that have been approved and adhering to those that are currently in place. Failure to follow OSHA's rules can result in heavy fines and surprise safety and health inspections.
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