Who becomes president is only one factor shaping OSHA’s future, according to sources. Those closer to the agency’s daily operations — the Secretary of Labor and the OSHA administrator — will be key selections. And if the same party controls Congress and the White House, watch out. That’s the scenario that could trigger the most radical swings — carrot versus stick — in the agency’s philosophy.

Still, OSHA’s unpredictable past shows it’s hard to forecast its future.