What to Expect from OSHA in 2010

The year 2009 saw great changes in the leadership of the Department of Labor. Immediately after being elected, President Obama nominated Hilda Solis to be the Secretary of Labor. Her nomination was confirmed on February 24th and was followed shortly thereafter by the appointment of Jordan Barab as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. These two were known for their slogan, “There’s a new sheriff in town”, forewarning businesses of the new, more aggressive stance OSHA would be taking to ensure worker safety. On December 3rd, the US Senate confirmed David Michaels as the new Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. With these three key players in place, we can be sure to expect major changes in how worker safety is dealt with across the country. Already we’ve seen a number of goals outlined by the new administration, but evidence of stricter enforcement can be seen too. The number of OSHA inspectors has begun to climb and we’ve seen a record-breaking citation handed out to BP Products in Texas: $87,430,000 for not complying with a 2005 settlement with OSHA.

In 2010 we can expect to see greater enforcement and more regulatory action. On the enforcement side, you’ll notice more OSHA inspectors, more inspections, more citations and higher penalties. The regulatory agenda recently outlined by Solis and Barab is very aggressive. Just a few of the topics that will be addressed this new year are: airborne infectious diseases, OSHA 300 injury and illness log changes, cranes and derricks, combustible dust, and a new hazard communication standard, all of which are in various stages of rulemaking. Any one of these changes could affect millions of workers. It’s safe to say that businesses need to look at their safety programs carefully and make sure they are measuring up to the high standards being set by the Obama administration.

 

This information is provided as a service to you by Compliance Consultants, Inc.