Safety and OSHA News

Top 8 OSHA plans companies should watch out for

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A lot of debate will occur between this week’s announcement of President Obama’s proposed budget, including funding for OSHA, and the start of the new federal fiscal year on Oct. 1. Forget about that debate for now. Instead, take a look at what OSHA plans to do with its funding, especially if you own a small business.

Here’s a summary of some of OSHA’s plans, included in the budget proposal:

  • 25 additional employees for enforcement. OSHA says these 25 additional inspectors would “expand the agency’s enforcement presence.”
  • More inspections. OSHA estimates it will conduct 41,000 inspections from Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012. That’s a 6.5% increase in the number of inspections conducted during fiscal 2010.
  • Smaller businesses targeted. OSHA’s Site Specific Targeting (SST) Program focuses inspections on businesses that report high injury rates. For the first time, SST will target businesses with 20 or more employees. Previously, the minimum number of employees was 40.
  • More publicity about ‘severe violators.’ OSHA’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program (SVEP) will develop a website displaying the names of SVEP employers. As of the end of 2010, OSHA categorized 89 businesses as SVEP cases. An interesting note: 78% of the SVEP cases were small businesses with less than 100 employees.
  • New emphasis programs for inspections. In 2012, three new National Emphasis Programs (NEPs) will start: Primary Metals, Diacetyl Substitutes and Isocyanates. Other NEPs will continue, including one emphasizing Recordkeeping which focuses on employers that under-report injuries and illnesses. The Recordkeeping NEP also examines safety incentive programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries.
  • Increased corporate-wide settlements. OSHA plans to implement a new directive for its inspectors before 2012 on Corporate-Wide Settlement Agreements (CSAs) for multi-site employers. CSAs address safety and health hazards that exist at more than one employer location. The new directive will emphasize using these agreements for smaller employers with more than one location.
  • States must meet federal standards. OSHA will issue comprehensive evaluations of all state OSHA plans again in FY 2012. OSHA wants to work with states to ensure their safety programs are equal to the federal one, particularly in enforcement.
  • OSHA inspectors broaden their reach. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is stepping up efforts to identify misclassification of employees as independent contractors. OSHA will train its inspectors to recognize where misclassification is occurring and to refer such situations to the proper DOL division for enforcement.

Note: Some of these initiatives are not entirely dependent on OSHA receiving the requested budgetary increase.

A PDF of OSHA’s entire budget proposal can be found here.

What do you think about these OSHA initiatives? Let us know in the Comments Box below.

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  • http://www.cbjw.net Mark

    Here we go again with more regulations to punish employers. If the employers are not providing employee safety, they should be penalized.

    However, this administration is hell-bent on driving private companies out of business. They are using heavy-handed measures on the states. I leaned about this first hand recently.

    Employers need to pay attention to their safety P’s and Q’s because OSHA will cite and fine more than they every have even for minor violations.

    This is just like EEOC has done with their large class-action lawsuits and DOL FLSA has done with digging through employers pay records to try and find errors to allow class action lawsuits as well.

    As the old saying goes, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”. Help alright. Help the private industry in this country to go out of business or relocate to China and other countries.

    R. Mark Adams, CRM, OSHE

    Risk Control Manager/Risk Management

    3011 Armory Drive Suite 250
    Nashville, TN 37204-1369
    615-986-6224
    madams@cbjw.net

  • Guest

    More publicity about ’severe violators’. This goes right in line with Jordan Barab’s stance that we must shame employers into compliance. Things like that prove who is really running the show. Dr. Michaels is just a talking head.

  • PO’d Safety Guy

    Gosh, let’s see. Mr Hosier must have overlooked the one where OSHA increases collaborative and consultative services in an effort to promote pro-active safety measures.
    Or was I dreaming again? It’s more tools to grab your money, folks. OSHA is becoming the Safety Gestapo. Get ready, if you can ever BE ready.

  • Kel

    Bottom line here is get tougher with enforcement. Employers need to be more vigilant when it concerns safety. Companies either have to fully comply with safety standards or be penalized. No issues here with more penalties. For the record, I am a Safety Officer with my company and sit on a Safety Committee. Holding companies accountable is necessary.

  • Terry

    I have no problem with increased inspections if the basis for the inspection is just. The bottom line to holding companies accountable is holding employees accountable for adhering to company and regulatory safety requirements. As my company’s Safety Manager, training and educating employees is perhaps the largest part of my department’s job duties. Being a “safety cop” is not what I want to do, but as a previous commenter said if “Holding companies accountable is necessary.”, that means discipline including termination of employees that will not follow safety policies. OSHA and the courts should be held accountable when companies take disciplinary action against employees who violate safety rules, but then have it over-turned by an administrative law judge supported by OSHA.

  • Safety Lady

    Kel, what about holding employees accountable for following the rules? As a Safety Manager for my company, I make sure that all employees receive the necessary training and equipment to follow the OSHA regs. Some complain that it is uncomfortable, I can’t wear that or other such comments. They do get written up, sent home or terminated. How then can you possibly state “Holding companies accountable is necessary.” Reality check the people that work are adults and need to take on some measure of responsibility for themselves regardless of OSHA’s new harsher programs.