regulations overdone

Since the new OSHA administration took over, there has been a shift toward stronger enforcement.

More staff has been added and policies have been changed. Fines have been higher. Are businesses being over regulated? Has regulation gone so far as to hamper the construction business?

What is OSHA really up to? In the past, OSHA only looked back 3 years when determining a "repeat" violation - which carries a higher penalty - had occurred. This window has increased to 5 years. This also creates tougher criteria for penalty reductions based on good history. Employers need to have a good track record for longer periods of time (5 years vs. 3 years) to be eligible for 10% penalty reductions based on history.

The average fine for serious violations will rise by $2000 - $3000 as a result of enforcement policy changes. OSHA is also asking Congress to pass legislation, the Protecting America's Workers Act, that would raise maximum penalties even further, up to $250,000 for certain violations. Even record keeping requirements are being cited at an increased rate with tougher penalties.

OSHA has launched an enforcement program geared toward what the agency calls "severe violators". Known as the Severe Violator Enforcement Program or SVEP, it focuses on OSHA enforcement resources on "recalcitrant" employers who fail to meet their obligations under the OSH Act. This means more inspections, more follow-up inspections, and more intense examination of employer's history to assess if there are systematic problems that would trigger more mandatory inspections.

The enforcement figures are in. OSHA has a $1.1 billion budget, $87 million in record breaking fines, and 169 new inspectors. To borrow from Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis' words, OSHA is acting like a "sheriff" now.

Is this too much? I'm not saying to rid ourselves of regulations entirely, but this seems to me as way too much regulation that can actually hamper productivity. The best regulator is the free enterprise system. If a company has a history of safety violations are they really doing well in business? Most likely not. They would continually have to "back up" to correct problems instead of moving forward. This would make projects come in over budget and over time. Hence a company with that kind of history wouldn't stay in business very long.

Over regulation isn't part of the capitalist model. Business is self-regulated. Regulated by what? Profit. To make more money, business has to run and run well. Business moves forward and more inspections don't allow for that. Businesses will pass on their added costs to the customer. That's more money out-of-pocket for you and me.

Congress has to examine the Protecting America's Workers Act before voting on it. Also other OSHA laws need to be inspected and if they are outdated, they have to be taken off the books. Regulation is need, but only to a point. Over regulation stops productivity.
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