Criminal prosecutions of workplace fatalities investigated by OSHA have been far and few between over the years. Since OSHA's existence more than 30 years ago, over 200,000 workplace related deaths have occurred, yet only a handful of those cases have been referred to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. If a death results from the commission of a "willful violation" of an OSHA standard, the employer is subject only to a misdemeanor offense. OSHA reports only eight convictions has resulted in prison sentences for company officials. Nonetheless, employers and managers alike need to appreciate the risks involved if there is a willful and intentional disregard for the safety of workers and that such disregard can result in a criminal referral by OSHA over to state and federal prosecutors. For more information, contact Bruce Smith at the Goosmann Law Firm, 410 5th Street, Sioux City, IA 51101. Phone: 712-226-4000. Email:

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