Beck demands IOSHA reform following federal investigation

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INDIANAPOLIS - State Representative Lisa Beck (D-Lakes of the Four Seasons) called on Governor Holcomb for a complete shake-up of the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) after the Trump administration determined IOSHA had acted improperly. Findings suggest IOSHA coached a company on how to consolidate claims or charges, and on how to receive the lesser consequence to their bad action that caused a fatality.

“We need to send a strong signal to employers amid a global pandemic that safety is important,” Beck said. “The very purpose of OSHA is to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards.

“However, it appears that Indiana OSHA is more concerned with protecting big businesses than the lives of working Hoosiers,” Beck continued. “To close the trust gap, Holcomb needs to make a complete change in staff including the Commissioner. If a change of leadership does not meet the goals and tasks of workplace safety, I ask the state to relinquish these duties back to the federal OSHA. In the meantime, I am calling for a state-appointed, independent, advisory board to monitor the activities and compliance of Indiana OSHA. Bad judgment has been a recurring problem with the Indiana OSHA.

A federal investigation prompted by reporting from the Center for Investigative Reporting found IOSHA wrongly exonerated Amazon of three of the four citations issued by the administration after the death of an employee at a Plainfield location. Beck noted the importance of a competent and independent workplace safety investigatory function as Hoosiers begin to return to work and COVID-19 cases rise.

“I have no doubt IOSHA will play a critical role in the coming weeks and months,” said Beck. “Holcomb can choose to chart a course with new leadership or continue down a path that has had ongoing failures in setting and enforcing safety regulations necessary to keep Hoosiers safe. Working Hoosiers have to know state government has their back.”

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