Limited Trump Impact on OSHA in 2017
To prevent workers, especially construction workers, from being killed or injured on the job, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducts thousands of work sites inspections every year. After Trump took over some worried that OSHA power would be diminished and that workers might be exposed to riskier work conditions. So far it hasn’t been the case.
During the fiscal year 2017, OSHA conducted 32,396 inspections compared with 31,948 during the fiscal year 2016. The average penalty per violation was $3645 during the 2017 fiscal year compared with $3415 during the 2016 fiscal year. Between 2010 and 2015 there was an average 8.4 $1 million cases reported yearly however in 2017 there were only 6 $1 million cases.
Despite being nominated by the president to head OSHA, Scott Mugno, currently vice president for safety, sustainability and vehicle maintenance at FedEx Ground hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate yet. So far the career OSHA people are still running the show and things are not expected to change dramatically. This is mainly because the lack of political leadership and the language and requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act are preventing deregulation.
According to experts two regulatory developments should be followed up in 2018 :
- Advancing a rule on lockout/tagout requirements
- Potential changes to the electronic record-keeping rule especially in regards to the anti-retaliation provisions
The Trump administration may try to pull back the Yates memo to increase efforts to prosecute employers who endangered the lives of their employees. However Attorney General Jeff Sessions being known as a law-and-order type guy may go against this effort. Additionally pulling back the Yates memo would directly affect blue collar workers who are Trump’s base.
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Picture source: OSHA