It is clear that the government is serious about safety. In 1990, 22,578 citations for alleged Hazard Communications Standard (HazCom) violations were issued in the construction industry. The U.S. Bureau of National Affairs, which tracks OSHA activities, listed construction as one of OSHA's prime targets because of the industry's poor record in reducing serious accidents. Another indication of OSHA's interest in construction is the new OSHA Office of Construction and Engineering. Its purpose is to provide technical construction advice to OSHA.
OSHA is also beginning to use criminal charges more frequently. Congressmen Metzenbaum and Gaydos introduced the OSHA Criminal Penalty Reform Act to increase criminal sanctions against employers for willful violation of OSHA regulations resulting in serious bodily injury to workers or death. And on March 1, 1991, fines increased by a factor of seven. But violation fines are not the only cost of accidents. Increased workers' compensation costs, as well as litigation costs, make safety a cost-saving neccessity. In case after case, a solid safety program significantly reduces accidents.