WORKPLACE SAFETY – OSHA Not Letting Up on Inspections, Penalties


Despite widespread expectations, FedOSHA under the Trump administration has not backed off on enforcing workplace safety regulations.

In fact, the agency is as aggressive as ever and citations issued have also risen, after fines increased substantially three years ago. Based on
OSHA statistics, a company that’s inspected has only a 25%
chance of not receiving a single citation.

In other words, employers should keep up their safety regimens to not only avoid being cited but also to avoid workplace injuries.

WHAT’S GOING ON WITH OSHA

Enforcement emphasis still going strong – There are more than 150 local and regional enforcement emphasis programs as well as nine national programs in effect that were implemented at the end of the Obama administration. OSHA is dutifully enforcing them all.
Budget bucks the trend – Despite the budget-cutting at many federal agencies, OSHA saw a $5 million increase in its fiscal year 2019 budget from the year prior.
Most notably, that was the first budget increase since 2014. In addition, state-run OSHA programs also received a small budget enhancement of $2 million.

Fines increasing – OSHA has not moved to reverse the maximum fines for safety violations after they were increased substantially in 2016. They increased by 2.5% for 2019 from 2018 as the law requires that they keep pace with inflation.

 

 

Inspections stable – The number of inspections remains unchanged.
Focus on repeat violators – A focus on repeat violations has continued, with 5.1% of all violations in this category. The percentage has been over 5% since FY2016.
General duty clause – There has been expansion of the general duty clause to cite employers for heat stress, ergonomics, workplace violence, and chemical  exposures below the permissible limit.

NEW EMPHASIS

And 2018 also saw a new effort by OSHA to fine-tune its work. It issued a memo in May that formalized the use of drones with the employer’s consent) to collect evidence.

This has been somewhat controversial because it could enhance its ability to find other violations it might not normally find.

According to the Fiscal Year 2019 Congressional Budget Justification for the Occupational Safety and Health  Administration, increased enforcement seems to be more likely than a decrease.

Also, although there have been no officially released statements, the new electronic injury and illness reporting information will be used by OSHA and state plans to increase enforcement.

The increased budget, according to the Congressional Budget Justification, will support additional compliance safety and health officers to provide a greater enforcement presence and provide enhanced technical assistance to employers who need help in understanding how to achieve compliance with OSHA standards.

Attention !

Coronavirus – Mindful Insurance Remote Work Arrangements

At Mindful Insurance Solutions, our top priority has always been to deliver best-in-class service to our clients.  We chose the name “Mindful” precisely to be “present and willing to do something” with our clients, and that’s what we always strive to be—present with you in your business.

To ensure that we remain true to our name during the current coronavirus pandemic, we are taking every precaution possible to protect the health and safety of our team and their families.

Therefore, in line with much of the rest of the country, as of today, our team will work remotely, and our physical office locations will be closed.

For now, our plan is to maintain remote work arrangements for as long as local authorities require or medical experts advise.  We will closely monitor the situation to determine when we can return to our normal office procedures. The good news is that our technological capability enables everyone on our team to work seamlessly from remote locations. During this period, we will continue to be readily accessible to you. Your emails and phone calls/voicemails will be answered as per usual, and our Mindful Insurance professionals will work to meet your needs in all the ways you have come to expect from us.

We understand that insurance is a people-oriented industry, and Mindful prides itself on being a people-oriented company.  But while there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction, it is prudent to curtail such interaction as much as possible until things return to normal.  Therefore, Mindful also stands ready to interact with you via remote video/teleconferencing as desired.

These extraordinary steps are necessary to preserve the health of our team and to help curtail the spread of the virus, while upholding our commitment to you, our clients.  On behalf of the entire Mindful team, I want to thank you for your understanding and support during these challenging times.  We wish you, your families and your teams much good health.

In your service, stay healthy and safe,

William Donaldson President / CEO


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