Labor Secretary Hilda Solis reiterated her commitment to hiring hundreds of new investigators and strengthening enforcement of OSHA rules yesterday, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
Ms. Solis made the announcement after touring a culinary school in Las Vegas, a city which has recently experienced an outbreak of construction accidents. Under Ms. Solis’s plan, many of the additional investigators will be used to more closely scrutinize the construction industry, which, according to Ms. Solis, has an unusually high incidence of accidents.
“There shouldn’t be any loss of life. Workers should be able to go to work and go home,” the Sun quoted Ms. Solis as saying.
This is a fine position – one that many New York construction accident lawyers have been advocating for years. Though OSHA’s rules and practices are sometimes imperfect, on the whole greater accordance with its prescriptions would be a very good thing.
A huge majority of the construction accident cases that come through our office would have been avoided if employers had only followed OSHA’s regulations. Though 300 or 400 or even 1000 extra investigators will not be able to bring the whole construction industry into compliance, it is an increase that will be felt. It will make the economics of skirting safety regulations less appealing for contractors who would otherwise be willing to trade their workers’ safety for a slightly higher profit margin.
With construction projects about to see a major, stimulus-related boost, it is important that the Department of Labor do everything it can to ensure workers’ safety. This is a good start, but it still has its work cut out for it.