The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced on Wednesday that it will launch a sweeping crackdown on dangerous workplaces. In the United States, there are thousands of work related deaths a year, with an average of 14 deaths per day.
OSHA has been criticized in the past for allowing companies to become slack in workplace safety. As well, the drive to keep injury records as close to zero as possible have encouraged to companies to falsify injury records and encourage their employees not to fill out OSHA paperwork if they do become injured.
The Cintas laundry company underwent no federal inspections for years until an employee was pulled into a laundry dryer and killed in the over 300 degree heat. It was common practice at the workplace for employees to climb on conveyor belts to dislodge clothing that had become stuck going into the dryers. The company was supposedly unaware the practice had gone on until the employee died.
The Cintas laundry company was not given any OSHA violations until after the incident that caused the employee's death. However, OSHA did issue the biggest fine of its kind to the company: $2.8 million.
OSHA administrator David Michaels has said that he believes there are a lot of irresponsible employers who fail to give workers a safe environment to work in. OSHA promises a crackdown in the future with over 100 new inspectors hired.