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U.S. Chamber Endorses OSHA Reform Bills

Wednesday, February 9, 2005 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce today applauded the introduction of four bills to reform the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and how citations against small businesses are handled. The bills are identical to legislation that was passed with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives last May.

"These modest changes in the law are needed to improve the chances for small businesses to be treated fairly when they confront a citation from OSHA," said Randel K. Johnson, Chamber vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits. "We are very hopeful, and cautiously optimistic, that the House will again pass these bills and that Senate passage will follow."

The Chamber applauded Representative Charlie Norwood (R-GA) for introducing four bills that would level the playing field for small businesses. Specifically, the bills will encourage OSHA to better assess the merits of a case before it brings unnecessary enforcement actions to court against small businesses; restore independent review of OSHA citations by clarifying that the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) is an independent judicial entity given deference by courts that review OSHA issues; give OSHRC additional flexibility to make exceptions to the arbitrary 15-day deadline for employers to file responses to OSHA citations when a small business misses the deadline by mistake or for good reason; and increases the membership of OSHRC from three to five members to ensure that cases are reviewed in a timely fashion.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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