It’s fairly obvious that we are about to see some major changes take place on Capitol Hill. The mid-term elections have provided the Republicans with total control of both the House and the Senate for the next two years which will alter nearly everything.
OSHA – It doesn’t make much sense to go through all of the different proposals on the FY15 federal budget, so let’s just stick with the facts as they stand. The only thing that has been actually put to paper is the Senate Labor Appropriations Committee spending bill that would provide OSHA with approximately $557.4 million in FY15.
OSHA has quietly announced the spring semi-annual regulatory agenda, a compilation of the many issues being undertaken or considered by the agency and a look at when the agency expects action on the issues. This agenda is supposed to be a “blueprint” for the agency to follow when tackling each of the issues; however in recent years the agenda has become something that many consider a complete “wish list” as most of the activity is never concluded on time.
In the OSHA budget justification the agency laid out some of its plans for 2015: Inspections – OSHA announced the agency will conduct more health and safety inspections in 2015, with most of the increase occurring in health inspections. OSHA says the reason for this is that health issues are being identified as increasing.
One of the questions I am constantly asked is “why can’t OSHA get anything done?” A fair question with a difficult answer. It would be easy to simply respond that OSHA is subject to a lot of politics, and I mean a lot of politics. It would also be easy to simply answer that it depends on who asked the question, and more importantly, when they asked it.
Not quite sure who lit the fire at OSHA but the level of activity at the agency in the last two months is more activity than we have seen in the last several years combined. Now the question is likely to be whether or not any of this activity will result in completed actions. Here’s a look at the current activity:
With a little fanfare, OSHA announced August 23 a proposed rule that would reduce exposure to silica. The proposed rule, encompassing nearly 800 pages, would reduce the exposure limit to silica to 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter, half of what is currently in place.