In their ongoing attempt to improve workplace safety, OSHA is making some significant changes in 2014. Not everyone will be happy with these changes as OSHA is adjusting their priorities when it comes to inspections. Due to budget constraints, OSHA is reducing the total number of inspections being performed in 2014, and will be focusing on performing the most important inspections with higher standards.
The following changes will be implemented in order to attempt to continue to help improve workplace safety, while also working within the confines of their budget.
Increased Inspections of Facilities with Chemical and Health Risks
OSHA is increasing the number of inspections they are performing from 7400 to 7850 in facilities where emerging chemical and health issues come up. These are, of course, some of the most critical types of inspections, and have clearly been given a priority in the 2014 budget.
Fewer Safety Inspections
Safety inspections are among the most common types, and also the simplest of all the inspections. OSHA is planning on conducting 31,400 safety inspections in 2014, which is 2200 fewer than were conducted in 2013. The time and money saved on these types of inspections, they feel, will be better spent focusing on the more critical types of inspections.
Fewer Locations Inspected
In addition to reducing the total number of inspections performed, they are also lowering the number of places they will be inspecting. They will be visiting 1711 fewer physical workplaces in 2014 than they did in previous years. They want to focus on improving the quality of the inspection performed at each work-site.
Federal Agencies to Submit Injury & Illness Data
Starting in 2014, agencies will be required to submit an annual workplace injury and illness report to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. OSHA can then analyze this data in an attempt to help develop training and inspection programs. These reports will contain information on over two million federal agency workers, which will give OSHA a very extensive set of data to work with in creating safety programs.
Some people are concerned with the adjustments OSHA is making in this area. Reducing the total number of inspections being performed may have some companies less worried about these inspections. They may let things go, resulting in an unsafe work environment. Critics feel that the quality of the inspections is less important than the quantity. Companies will improve safety on their own terms, if they feel that an inspection could be coming at any moment. If there is a reduced risk of these inspections, the companies will have a reduced incentive to spend the time, effort and money to implement these types of changes.