Business Groups Challenge OSHA Compliance

Four business associations, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, filed suit Jan. 22 in the federal court of appeals in the District of Columbia to strike down OSHAs recently established Cooperative Compliance Program. The program is intended to reduce the chance of OSHA inspections for companies that enter into agreements with the agency regarding certain requirements. Far from being voluntary, however, the business groups contend that the program coerces employers into participating. Some 14,000 companies received letters in December requiring them, by Jan. 30, to either enter into the program, which has numerous requirements, or face mandatory inspections. "OSHA is moving forward with an agenda to force American companies to comply with standards the agency has failed to get properly promulgated," declares Stephen Bokat, the Chambers vice president and general counsel. Other business groups participating in the suit are the National Assn. of Manufacturers, the American Trucking Assns., and the Food Marketing Institute.

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