In a major win for workers’ safety on the job, a federal appeals court upheld the power of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to determine how to craft and enforce workplace safety rules.
The saga began when Eric Ho, a contractor in Houston, hired 11 immigrant workers in 2003 to remove asbestos from a building but did not train them or provide them with respirators. After a city inspector issued a stop-work order because of asbestos violations, Ho directed employees to work at night behind locked gates.
OSHA cited Ho for 22 separate violations—11 for not training each worker and 11 for not providing a respirator for each worker. Amazingly, the Bush administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission overturned the majority of the citations, saying Ho could only be cited once for not training workers and once for not providing respirators. That meant Ho only had to pay two fines, not 22. continue reading

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