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    Solis applauds OSHA enforcement, promises support for small businesses

    February 11, 2010

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    In her first appearance before the House Education and Labor Committee since being sworn in as secretary of labor, Hilda L. Solis expressed her support for OSHA's strong enforcement of standards and its increasing outreach to small businesses.

    During the Feb. 1 committee hearing, Solis said recent egregious workplace citations and the record-breaking fine issued to BP Products North America last October send the message that OSHA is serious about protecting workers.

    At the hearing, Solis also discussed how new funding for OSHA allows for increased worksite inspections that will help bring enforcement to levels not seen in 10 years.

    When Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) suggested many small businesses cannot meet "onerous government regulations" that add to the cost of business through stiff fines, Solis admitted the Department of Labor had not "kept pace" with business growth in terms of providing adequate assistance, but said DOL's efforts will improve.

    "I don't want it to seem or appear that it's just punitive," she said, adding that OSHA will work to create partnerships with small businesses to provide tools and information to help protect workers and avoid injuries and fines.

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