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OSHA, Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation renew safety pact

The Occupational Safety and Health Act was enacted by Congress in 1970. Its objective over the past 40-plus years has been to promote workplace safety in Ohio and all other states by providing for training, conducting inspections that identify safety hazards, recognizing both exemplary and safety-lagging enterprises, and enforcing standards though fines and an array of other penalties and sanctions.

Officials and inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have been the primary agents pursuing those aims, with the national office being supplemented by a number of state field offices, including in Ohio.

The agency has both proponents and critics. Advocates of OSHA’s work and energies expended on behalf of safety promotion say that inspections, training, the levying of penalties when necessary and investigators’ follow-up inspections and actions have collectively contributed to a much safer American workforce than in bygone decades. Many critics readily concede that, but say that the agency brings an underwhelming presence and scrutiny of workplaces owing to limited resources and strong business interests aligned against it.

One thing that OSHA actively promotes is alliances among government agencies, business groups and labor, with OSHA officials saying that broad-based efforts made in concert reap the greatest safety results.

The agency has a formal Alliance Program operative in Ohio, for example, that it first began in 2011. That coordinated effort -- primarily involving OSHA, the state’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and an association of smaller businesses -- was recently renewed.

Howard Eberts, area director for the agency in Cleveland, stated that the renewal “reflects a mutual recognition of the important of workers’ safety and health.”

Agency officials cite many benefits through participation, but one of those is not an exemption from OSHA inspections.

Source: WorkersCompensation.com, "OSHA renews alliance to protect Ohio workers in manufacturing, service, construction industries," June 14, 2013

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