Wednesday, October 21, 2009

that's all, folks

Title 29 - Labor Chapter 15 - Occupational Safety & Health Sec. 666 - Civil and criminal penalties (e) Willful violation causing death to employee Any employer who willfully violates any standard, rule, or order promulgated pursuant to section 655 of this title, or of any regulations prescribed pursuant to this chapter, and that violation caused death to any employee, shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for no more than six months, or by both; except that if the conviction is for a violation committed after a first conviction of such person, punishment shall be by a fine of not more than $20,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by both. Now, here we go: > "civil and criminal penalties" gives a first impression that the plural applies to criminal, as well as civil. Nope. There's only one criminal provision under the federal (and Minnesota) Occupational Safety & Health Act. It's here. You need to actually achieve killing your employee. Not only that, but it also needs to meet the legal definition of "willful", which isn't the same as used in normal conversation. There's one of those op-ed pieces on a blog bemoaning the state of affairs when killing your worker carries a lower penalty than assaulting a burro on federal property. A claim I've read before. The author, however, failed to provide a bibliography along with the word 'bibliography'. So, I'm not sure how valid his numbers are, or where they're from. Which is sad, because I would like to use some of them & would have been happier if I didn't need to go looking for the information from primary sources. Like the burro. Or ... "By comparison with other federal agencies, OSHA is hardly the big bully it is often painted as. For example, the penalty for killing a burro on federal land is one year in jail, and the penalty for mail fraud is up to 30 years behind bars. The Environmental Protection Agency [in the course of] one year obtained prison sentences totaling 256 years." e.g. I'd like to know which year that was & where the burro law is. He also stated: "... there are fewer OSHA compliance officers than there are U.S. fish and game wardens. In other words, the large mouth bass and the wild turkey are afforded better [protection] than U.S. workers."

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