January-February 2016

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24 PalletCentral • January-February 2016 he federal government is taking aim at occupational safety and health violations from a different perspective: criminal prosecution. On December 17, 2015, a joint statement was issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) encouraging the agencies to work cooperatively to bring more safety scofflaws to justice, and to work on imposing criminal prison sentences well beyond those provided for under the Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act). A Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies has been executed and a memo was sent to 93 federal prosecuting attorneys informing them of the new protocols. It also sets up a new framework for notification, consultation and coordination between the two departments to aid both in implementing safety- related workplace statutes. OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels said about the initiative: "Strong criminal sanctions are a powerful tool to ensure employers comply with the law and protect the lives, limbs and lungs of our nation's workers." The DOJ's environmental crimes OSHA and DOJ Step Up Criminal Enforcement By Adele L. Abrams, Esq., CMSP SAFETY T

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