OSHA Forecast: What to Expect in 2016

Bloomberg BNA Health Law Reporter

Valerie Butera, a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, authored an article in Bloomberg BNA Health Law Reporter titled “OSHA Forecast: What to Expect in 2016.”

Following is an excerpt (see below to download the full article in PDF format):

OSHA has historically looked at the number of inspections conducted each year as the primary metric for measuring its effectiveness in enforcement activity. This arrangement encouraged field managers to direct compliance officers to conduct relatively straightforward inspections of familiar industries, hence the heavy enforcement efforts in construction and manufacturing. Such inspections can be completed relatively quickly, enabling inspectors to complete a large number of inspections each year.

OSHA reviewed rates of work-related injuries and illnesses across a number of industries and found that many highly hazardous industries were being relatively ignored under this system because compliance officers were not being assigned to the more time-consuming, complex inspections that would result in a lower number of completed inspections.

On Sept. 30, OSHA informed its regional administrators that the agency had crafted a new system to address this issue—namely, the enforcement weighting system. Regional administrators were informed that the agency has abandoned the old system of counting inspections and in fiscal 2016 transitioned to the new system, which gives the agency the flexibility to more strategically deploy its compliance officers to conduct complex inspections in the high-hazard industries that have previously received little or no attention from OSHA.