There are some major changes occurring for OSHA during 2014, such as fewer workplace safety inspections.
In its latestet budget request, OSHA stated: “OSHA has already operated under the assumption that ‘more inspections are better’ as the more establishments inspected, the greater OSHA’s presence, and hence the greater the agency’s impact … The problem with this model is that not all inspections are created equal, as some inspections take more time and resources to complete than the average or typical OSHA inspection.” Source: www.dol.gov/dol/budget/2014/pdf/cbj-2014-v2-12.pdf
Experiencing a budget shortage, OSHA is applying a strong inspection system rating to employers based on their compliance, with the biggest compliance issues obviously having the greatest impact on health and safety in the workplace.
OSHA is implementing the following policies for fiscal year 2014:
Focused Increased Health Inspections
OSHA has planned a total number of 7,850 health inspections for companies who are more likely to be inspected by OSHA, where workers are involved in handling waste material and clean up operations, where workers’ health issues frequently occur. OSHA raised the number of health inspections to around 450 compared to 2013.
Fewer Safety Inspections Than 2013
OSHA has decided to lessen the numbers of safety inspections so that federal officers can spend more time over complicated and time-consuming investigations. OSHA has cut down a total of 2,200 safety inspections for 2014 and has planned for a total of 31,400 workplace safety inspections.
OSHA Requires Federal Agencies to Submit Injury and Illness Data
In 2014, OSHA requires federal agencies to submit work place injury and illness data to the Bureau of Labor Statistics annually. This will help OSHA to analyze over two million workers and develop workplace OSHA safety training programs for them.
OSHA’s aim is to focus on quality of inspections rather than quantity and have planned for around 1,711 fewer work site inspections.
The new OSHA inspection plan for 2014 has raised questions because industry experts anticipate if OSHA focuses on larger company inspections, then what about the small workplaces? Or industries with high fatality rates? Decreased inspections may cause workplace safety to suffer in numerous uninspected work sites such as construction. Just last week in Austin, Texas a framer fell to his death because he was not tied off.
OSHA may have changed their inspection policy for 2014, but it doesn’t mean that small work sites will stay off the radar. Employers should operate as safely as possible whether or not OSHA shows up. At construction sites, accidents and injuries can occur any moment so don’t put your business, and even more importantly, your employees at risk by not following proper workplace safety plans and procedures.
Always remember, spending your time and effort in devising and implementing safety training for employees will always be beneficial as Safety Pays but Ignorance of Safety Costs! Make sure you and your employees have the latest OSHA training to keep your workplace safe and compliant.