WASHINGTON - The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has announced its support for the four Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reform bills passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, saying they will provide contractors with a fairer process in dealing with OSHA citations while saving the companies time and money.

"Safety is our members' first priority. AGC works closely with OSHA to improve contractor and worker awareness of good safety practices," said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. "AGC believes these reforms will help to level the playing field for contractors, and assure that contractors who are cited by OSHA for safety receive due process."

According to AGC, some of the bills that will have the greatest impact on contractors include H.R. 739, which would allow the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) to make exceptions to the current 15-day deadline for employers to contest citations or proposed penalties, and H.R. 742, designed to make it easier for small businesses to recover attorneys' fees when they successfully defend against an OSHA citation.

Contactors will also benefit from H.R. 741, which will ensure that the courts defer to OSHRC on matters of law, restoring the independent review of OSHA citations and ensuring that the prosecuting agency (OSHA) would not also be the interpreter of the law, and H.R. 740, which proposes to expand the number of OSHRC members from three to five to address the common situation in which the commission does not have a quorum.

Sandherr added, "AGC thanks the House for passage of these OSHA reform bills and encourages Senate action on the legislation."

Publication date: 07/25/2005