AMERICAN SOCIETY OF SAFETY ENGINEERS
1800 East Oakton Street
December 1, 2003
The Honorable John Henshaw
Dear Assistant Secretary Henshaw:
On behalf of its 30,000 member safety, health and environmental professionals, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) applauds you and the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) for deciding to appeal the recent decision by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) in Secretary of Labor v. Ho, OSHRC No. 98-1645, 98-1646 (OSHRC, Sept. 29, 2003).
ASSE's members are concerned that the Ho decision improperly limits OSHA's ability to continue enforcement actions under the "egregious" conduct policy, a necessary tool for OSHA to make the worst employers accountable for their willful failure to protect workers from known safety and health risks. If allowed to stand, this decision would be an unacceptable step backwards in the federal government's ability to enforce this nation's occupational safety and health standards against those who deserve enforcement attention the most. To not do so flies in the face the responsibility that the vast majority of employers have undertaken to follow these standards.
In her dissenting opinion, OSHRC Commissioner Rogers
stated, "(T)his disposition constitutes a radical departure from
settled Commission and court precedent recognizing the Secretary's authority
to issue multiple citations for violations of the same standard where
the standard can reasonably be read to permit multiple units of violation."
ASSE fully agrees.
As always, ASSE and its members stand ready to assist you in your efforts to ensure that all U.S. workers receive necessary protections from safety, health and environmental risks on the job.