Statement of Charles N. Jeffress
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health
March 13, 1998
Contact: Michael Fluharty (202) 219-8151
Today, the Department of Labor filed a brief
with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,
addressing OSHA's interim inspection plan and responding to
challenges to the plan made by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The interim plan is OSHA's temporary substitute for the inspection
plan that was part of the Cooperative Compliance Program (CCP)
directive. The CCP has been stayed by the Court while the case
"Today's filing explains that our interim plan is designed to protect
workers and fulfill OSHA's Congressional mandate to inspect workplaces
for safety and health violations. Our message is very simple: the Court
does not have jurisdiction to review the legality of the interim plan,
but in any case, the plan is consistent with the Court's order and the
Fourth Amendment to the Constitution."
"Further, the interim plan is not prohibited by the Court's stay
order, since the interim plan is different from the CCP inspection
plan, targeting a different universe of industries and omitting the
major component of the CCP -- our offer of partnership. Also, the
interim plan meets the Fourth Amendment criteria of reasonableness
and neutrality, since it is reasonable for OSHA to give priority to
inspecting high hazard work sites using purely objective criteria to
target those inspections."
"We still maintain that the best way to protect workers is to target
high hazard work sites and offer those employers the opportunity
to partner with OSHA to eliminate dangerous conditions. We
remain committed to the concept of the Cooperative Compliance
Program, and point to the more than 10,000 businesses that signed
up to work with us as evidence that this is a better way to ensure
safe working conditions for all Americans."