[Excerpt] Is OSHA finally enforcing the law after years of laxity? Or, as most activists and analysts involved in safety and health believe, do the high-profile penalties constitute an attempt by OSHA to shore up its reputation? A recent independent federal study, the conclusions of which were confirmed by the agency's own consultants, found OSHA in a state of "total paralysis." Another, private, study by the National Safe Workplace Institute showed that OSHA's inspections are inadequate and untimely, that the agency consistently fails to insure that what hazards it does uncover are corrected, and that it often and unjustifiably reduces its fines against firms that willfully and repeatedly violate the law.
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