OSHA Expectations in 2020

As regards 2020, OSHA has not been forthcoming with information. Their website has been left redundant for a while. However, inkling can be drawn from the 2020 congressional budget justification for the OSHA. Drawing an inference from the congressional justification, OSHA will have four foci; reduction of regulatory cost, compliance document publications, enforcement, and whistleblower programs.

There will be similarities at the start of 2020 with that of 2020, majorly due to the absence of a substantive leader for the OSHA. Even though Scott Mugno was nominated in 2017, he later withdraws from the race in 2020. Leaving the Principal Deputy Secretary Assistant, Loren Sweatt, in control. With a budgetary increase of $300,000 for 2020, the following areas are worthy of being discussed;

Reduction of Regulatory Cost

This is quite an irony with the increase in the OSHA budget to $557,533,000 for 2020. Nonetheless, there will be a strong adherence to the President’s Executive Order 13777 and 13771 on the reductions of regulatory and controlling costs. This will require the OSHA to look for a balance as a response to industry groups and other stakeholders. More importantly, there is a need to process new information on hazards and its effect. In essence, OSHA regulations will be streamlined to make it relevant to prevailing scenarios.

Compliance Documents Publication

Part of the plans of the OSHA will be to focus on the publications of documents targeted at compliance. Most importantly, the OSHA will publish two rules on Berrylium as a form of industry general and hazard notification. Aside from that, the OSHA will also focus attention on the publication of the notices of rulemaking as it concerns tree care and silica exposure. In all, the OSHA will be publishing not less than 40 documents towards compliance with regulations.

Further Attention on Enforcement

Just like it did in 2019, the OSHA will pay more attention on the Site-Specific Targeting (SST) inspections. 2020 will be the second year of the SST inspections, and the attention will be on non-construction workplaces, especially with those will more than 20 employees. The workplace to be targeted will be identified using the data derived from the Injury Tracking Application. Attention will also be focused on establishments with elevated Days Away Restricted or Transferred (DART). That’s not all; it will be along with those that fail in providing the required information.

Increment In Whistleblowing Effort

This can be deduced from the increase in the budgetary allocation for the whistleblowing program. With the increased allocation, the OSHA will be hiring new whistleblower investigators to join the existing staff and increase the existing investigations. With an expected increase in reports to be filed in 2020, more hands will be needed for the OSHA. So also, there will be improvements to IT programs to cushion the effect of the expected increase in workload for the whistleblowing program.

In 2020, the OSHA will further grow its reliance on the utilization of the Alternative Dispute Resolution. Based on results from 2019, ADR has proven to be more effective than the traditional legal route.