If you need more proof of the importance of reducing the number of severe injuries suffered by your workforce, consider this fact: OSHA will be focusing its inspection efforts on employers that report worker injuries.
So suggests a recent document issued by the agency to justify its budget request for this year. In the congressional budget justification document, OSHA estimated that 60% of its inspections in 2020 will be prompted by worker referrals, complaints, or severe injury reports.
In comparison, 55% of the wall-to-wall checkups conducted by OSHA in 2019 were started in response to complaints, referrals, or injuries.
Moreover, OSHA said it hopes to hire 50 inspectors during the second half of this year in order to significantly ratchet up its inspection activities next year. The agency is planning to initiate 500 more inspections in 2021 than it’s scheduled to conduct in 2020.
The budget justification document also revealed that OSHA wants to pursue more criminal prosecutions this year and next year, as outlined in a memo of understanding that OSHA signed with the U.S. Department of Justice last year. Criminal charges are most likely to be brought in cases in which a willful violation led to a fatality.
What it means to you: If anyone in upper management suggests that OSHA is a paper tiger, let him or her know that the agency is still enforcing the rules on the books. That means violations can lead to big fines and, worse, possible jail time for senior-level managers if safety rules are completely ignored and an employee suffers a fatal injury.
(From the March 9, 2020, issue of OSHA Compliance News)