Lawmakers irked by OSHA's no-show at hearing

Lawmakers on Thursday criticized the Department of Labor for not appearing at a subcommittee hearing on workplace safety and health.

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), chairman of the Education and the Workforce subcommittee on workforce protections, criticized the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for not appearing at his hearing.

Walberg said he was open to OSHA’s attendance, but admonished the agency, which is housed in the Labor Department, for requiring a 14-day notice to prepare for hearings.

“The concern is they need 14 days as oppose to others that can appear [on] seven days notice,” Walberg said.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) blamed Republicans for OSHA’s absence. “I’m particularly disappointed that the majority has failed to invite OSHA or schedule this hearing with sufficient notice,” said Woolsey.

Walberg countered that Republicans had given the agency sufficient time to prepare for the hearing. “There was seven days notice, which is within the committee rules for this hearing," said Walberg.

Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), a subcommittee member, said he would like to see OSHA present at future hearings.

OSHA did not comment for this article by press time.

At the hearing, Woolsey lambasted proposed cuts to OSHA while Republicans raised various concerns with the agency's enforcement program. Walberg announced that he is asking the Government Accountability Office to conduct a probe of OSHA's enforcement initiatives.