Fines for violations of federal workplace safety laws are set to increase for the first time in 25 years.
The bipartisan budget deal signed by President Obama in November requires the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to begin imposing higher penalties by Aug. 1, 2016.
“Simply put, OSHA penalties must be increased to provide a real disincentive for employers accepting injuries and worker deaths as a cost of doing business,” Dr. David Michaels, the director of OSHA, said in October before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.
OSHA’s maximum penalties, which the agency will set next year, are expected to increase to about $125,000, up from $70,000, for the repeated or willful violations, and to about $12,500, up from $7,000, for serious violations.
Jennifer Gollan is an award-winning reporter. Her investigation When Abusers Keep Their Guns, which exposed how perpetrators often kill their intimate partners with guns they possess unlawfully, spurred sweeping provisions in federal law that greatly expanded the power of local and state police and prosecutors to crack down on abusers with illegal firearms. The project won a 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and has been nominated for a 2022 Emmy Award.
Gollan also has reported on topics ranging from oil companies that dodge accountability for workers’ deaths to shoddy tire manufacturing practices that kill motorists. Her series on rampant exploitation and abuse of caregivers in the burgeoning elder care-home industry, Caregivers and Takers, prompted a congressional hearing and a statewide enforcement sweep in California to recover workers’ wages. Another investigation – focused on how Navy shipbuilders received billions in public money even after their workers were killed or injured on the job – led to tightened federal oversight of contractors’ safety violations.
Gollan’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Guardian US and Politico Magazine, as well as on PBS NewsHour and Al Jazeera English’s “Fault Lines” program. Her honors include a national Emmy Award, a Hillman Prize for web journalism, two Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, a National Headliner Award, a Gracie Award and two Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing awards. Gollan is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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