What is the likelihood that, if re-elected, President Obama’s OSHA will rush through a bunch of new occupational safety standards?
Not likely, according to the head of OSHA, David Michaels.
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) study earlier this year said that, on average, it takes eight years to enact a new OSHA regulation.
Michaels told reporters at the American Society of Safety Engineers’ Safety 2012 conference in Denver that OSHA thinks the GAO actually underestimated — it takes longer than eight years.
More importantly though, Michaels said OSHA doesn’t see a way to enact standards faster without legislation changing the process.
He called the time it takes to enact an OSHA regulation “the most painful part of my job.”
Michaels noted that many standards, such as permissible exposure limits (PELs) for hazardous substances, are out of date and they “don’t represent a level of safety.”
How many new regulations has OSHA enacted recently? There have been 11 new standards since 2002 (roughly one per year), with three of them since 2010 (once again, about one per year).