Following the announcement last week of the first ever Deferred Prosecution Agreement in an OSHA matter, the Editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter interviewed Eric J. Conn, Head of Epstein Becker Green’s national OSHA Practice Group, who was involved in the matter, about OSHA enforcement trends in general, and OSHA criminal prosecutions in particular.
“‘OSHA enforcement is up in every measurable metric, from number of inspections, to inspections resulting in citations, citations per inspection, average penalty per violation, average penalty per inspection, number of significant cases (cases with $100,000 penalties or more), and million dollar cases,’ Conn told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week. ‘Every measure you can think of — it is all up and it is all up somewhat significantly since 2009.’”
“And Conn is seeing an increase in activity when it comes to criminal enforcement of Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) cases. ‘Historically, you almost never saw criminal enforcement,’ Conn said. ‘There might have been one or two cases a year since the OSH Act was passed 40 years ago. In that time, there have been over 400,000 workplace fatalities, but fewer than 80 OSH Act cases have been criminally prosecuted. . . . But in the last five years, we have seen much more interest by U.S. Attorneys in these cases. They are taking them up more actively. And as a result, we are seeing more criminal settlements — plea deals, or other possible resolutions that come before an actual prosecution.’”
The article also touched on other controversial OSHA enforcement policies, such as OSHA’s program of “Regulation by Shaming” and the “Severe Violator Enforcement Program.”
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