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Enzi: Mine Safety Policies Must Get Results

Washington, D.C. – At a hearing today, in the wake of this month’s mining disaster in West Virginia, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, urged lawmakers and regulators to focus on creative policies that will help employers promote safer workplaces before accidents can happen.

“As a Senator from a state whose primary industry is energy production, my heart goes out to the families and communities that lost those hard-working Americans this month,” Enzi said.  “The work they do benefits every single one of us, and underpins our entire economy.  We appreciate it, though too few of us ever let them know.

Enzi added, “We owe it to those whose workplace accidents were not prevented to analyze why, and learn what can be done better.  There is no doubt that after an accident, a workplace will receive a great deal of regulatory attention, but I want to look for ways to reach the workplace before anything goes wrong and prevent accidents. 

“One undeniable fact is that enforcement alone cannot ensure the safety of America’s workforce.  Simple mathematics demonstrates the shortcomings of an inspect-and-sanction system.  With less than 2,400 OSHA employees, more than 7 million workplaces, and inspectors averaging around 40 inspections a year, it is clear that most workplaces will never see an OSHA inspector until it is too late.  If we truly want to continue to improve workplace safety, we need to think creatively, and to fashion policies aimed at getting results,” Enzi said.

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