OSHA is down 40 safety inspectors, raising enforcement questions
- The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is down by 40 inspectors, reports NBC News. The decline is due to attrition, but the agency hasn't filled those positions. Those employees accounted for 4% of the OSHA's total federal inspection force.
- Experts told NBC News that this raises questions about employees' safety in the workplace. While total inspections have increased, some say the regional offices that lost the employees will show a decrease. Mississippi, for example, saw inspections fall by 26% between President Donald Trump's inauguration and September 2016; DOL attributes the decline to the hurricanes the area faced last year.
- DOL has since approved the hiring of more inspectors, NBC News says.
Regardless of OSHA's enforcement pace, employers have a responsibility to comply with the laws that require them to take steps to keep employees safe at work.
Still, other growing pains at OSHA have left employers confused. OSHA's record-keeping rule represents the kind of conflicting messages employers were receiving. The Trump administration pushed back the effective date but eventually allowed it to take effect — and not without some hiccups.
The administration also didn't announce its intent to change or roll back other safety rules as expected, but some updates are likely still in the works. For now, employers will just have to keep an eye on announcements from the agency.