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Changes to OSHA Regulations, and What That Means for You

by Joe Geng on June 1, 2017

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The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is in place to keep workers safe from potential hazards in the workplace. Keeping workers safe should be a top priority for all parties. The current U.S. Administration is updating and revising previous regulations that could result in fewer regulations overall. This post looks at the things that you need to know to keep your workers safe and your company protected.

 

OSHA’s Current Situation

At the moment, OSHA serves as an enforcer for the United States Department of Labor. If an accident occurs or a request is made by a worker, OSHA will visit a job site. The agency will inspect the area, make recommendations and, in extreme cases, fine the organization in question.

It is OSHA’s responsibility, at the moment, to make sure employers are keeping their workers safe.

According to U.S. President Donald Trump, excessive regulations are killing jobs. His administration suggests fewer regulations, which will create more job opportunities to create jobs in skilled trades.

There has been a lot of talk about this administration’s impact on OSHA’s regulations and rules. This comes, in part, from OSHA has also faced some heat for posting the accidents and fatalities of workers on their website. Prospective employees and other employers have said that knowing about this injuries and fatalities is good. It puts the companies in the spotlight and forces them to make safety a top priority.

 

safety first

 

Here are the Potential Changes:

Budget Cuts   

It’s possible that the Department of Labor could see roughly a 2.5 billion dollar budget cut.,Ssme of which directly impacts OSHA. The money that OSHA receives also ensures employers are held accountable for the safety of their workers.
piggy

Changes in Regulations

Nearly 4,000 regulations could be overturned, including:

    • Increased penalty – Workplace violations could jump from $70,000 to roughly $124,000.
    • Respirable Silica –  The goal is to limit worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica,  a combination of soil, sand and granite. It’s known to cause cancer and plenty of other diseases. The change attached to this regulation is that the U.S Administration does not see enough reason, or ways, to efficiently regulate the amount of silica in the air.
    • Record-keeping rule – Employers are to track illnesses and injuries and record them online. This holds them accountable and keeps them up to date with what is happening at the job site.
    • Union representatives Participating in OSHA Inspections – Currently union reps attend walk-through inspections of job sites with OSHA reps, even if the company is a non-union organization.  The reasoning behind having a union rep is to represent the employees of the company under evaluation. If this changes, there will be no union representatives walking through the workplace helping ensure your crew is safe.

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces 

The Fair Pay and Safe Workplace regulation is for any company that has been awarded government contracts worth more than $500,000. Then they will have to disclose any past violations of labor laws. The order also asks agencies to create standards for assessing those violations deemed serious, repeated or willful. It does not stop those companies from getting these contracts either. If efforts are made to keep workers safe, this should be a non-issue. Under the new administration, more companies with violations will be able to apply for the contracts, and they will not have to adhere to previous restrictions.

construction workers

 

So, What Does it Mean?

OSHA may shift its work from enforcing rules and regulations to compliance strategy. By helping in the creation of cooperative programs for employers.
The responsibility of worker safety is already on the employer, but with these new regulations, it forces the employers to be more diligent with worker safety and make sure that everyone is safe, regardless if there are fewer rules and regulations in places.

Tthere has been no set date for the potential changes but most recently the Fair Pay and Work Safe rule has already been nullified.

Looking for more ways to make your workplace safe?  Download our PPE bible.

PPE guide


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