Changes are always expected when a new administration takes over in the USA. This time, we can expect many of these to focus on OSHA regulations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
As early as April last year, President Biden expressed concern over the inadequacies of current OSHA legislation to protect workers.
In this light, here’s an idea of what to expect early in 2021 regarding OSHA guidelines for an emergency temporary standard for COVID-19.
More OSHA Inspectors
There are currently 761 investigators in the field compared to over 1,000 ten years ago. Biden has expressed a desire to double the amount of OSHA investigators.
So, bearing the 18-month training period in mind, you can expect more inspectors knocking on your door in due course.
Restoration of the Advisory Committees Under a New Head Of OSHA
The position at the top of OSHA in the USA’s been vacant since 2019. Biden’s expected to elect someone to this position immediately.
Along with this, he’s likely to ensure that all the relevant advisory committees and boards are fully staffed and resume regular meetings.
The Return of the Original Electronic Reporting Rule
Under Obama, employers had to report all injuries and illnesses among employees to OSHA. This practice fell away over the last four years.
Biden may resurrect this ruling, which was never repealed. So employers will have to make their health and safety statistics public.
More Citations for Violations of CDC Guidelines Related to COVID-19
GDC guidelines apply when there are no specific OSHA regulations for a particular hazard, such as COVID-19. This concept’s also fallen by the wayside lately.
You can expect inspectors to get tougher on this ruling when President Biden takes over.
Finalization of an Infectious Disease Standard
Former President Obama’s administration spent years preparing a standard response to infectious diseases. Nothing ever came of this, but it’s expected that Biden will make it a high priority.
Given the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unlikely that anyone will oppose this initiative.
Enforcement of the 2016 OSHA Anti-Retaliation Rule
Workplace accidents like slip and fall incidents aren’t always as straight forward as they seem. According to Sweet Lawyers, there are a few times you might need legal assistance in the event of a slip and fall accident.
This ruling dictates that employers cannot retaliate against employees for reporting or seeking compensation for work-related injuries. The Biden administration will likely reinforce this rule to protect worker’s rights.
Stringent Scrutiny of State OSHA Plans
Federal OSHA and state OSHA plans haven’t always agreed, and the divide’s grown bigger over the last few years.
It’s expected that the new administration will work closely with state legislators, particularly those with emergency plans in place, to standardize legislation.
This may lead to increased pressure to increase penalties for non-compliance and stricter enforcement of the anti-retaliation rule.
Times Are Changing for OSHA
Only time will tell what changes OSHA 2021 will bring. However, we can expect the new administration to move fast in light of the current situation.
Keep tabs on our website for more news as the situation evolves and for information on current OSHA trends and other business-related matters.