OSHA Update – Recordkeeping

OSHA will walk back some of its requirements for employers to provide injury and illness information to the agency, according to the Trump administration’s new regulatory road map released Dec. 14. The Obama-era rule allows OSHA to post on its website employers’ injury and illness records and limits drug testing and safety incentive programs if they might discourage workers from reporting injuries. According to the regulatory agenda, the changes OSHA is proposing include removing the mandate for employers in 2018 to submit their annual Form 300 log and reports on individual incidents, OSHA Form 301. The change was among many sought by industry groups and employers. OSHA extended the deadline for uploading injury and illness data, announcing in December that it would accept 2016 data through the end of 2017. In the agenda, OSHA says it wants to drop the Form 300 and 301 submission requirements because the agency can’t guarantee that personally identifiable information wouldn’t be released.

OSHA Update – Inspections

Worker safety and health inspections rebounded slightly in fiscal year 2017, despite a stagnating OSHA budget and fewer enforcement personnel working on cases. OSHA inspectors finished 32,396 inspections in fiscal 2017, according to agency data requested by Bloomberg Environment. That’s up 1.4 percent from the tally for fiscal 2016—31,948 inspections—the fewest inspections OSHA conducted in 20 years. But the 2017 total is still well below peak years of the Obama administration, when the agency conducted more than 40,600 inspections in both fiscal 2011 and 2012. Agency officials have linked the decline in federal inspections to the agency’s budget—$552.8 million for 2017—not keeping pace with inflation, resulting in staff cutbacks. For fiscal 2017, Congress authorized OSHA to have 1,262 enforcement staff members, including support personnel, down 20 percent from the 1,583 approved for fiscal 2012.