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President Donald Trump and GOP members of Congress have promised to cut back on federal regulations, including those that govern the workplace. Actions (or lack thereof) targeting workplace safety rules and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforcement over the past few weeks have suggested that Republican leaders will keep their promise.
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) officials have noted, however, that they remain committed to workplace safety issues.
[SHRM members-only toolkit: Developing Effective Safety Management Programs]
OSHA Fines Not Published
President Barack Obama's administration issued about 460 news releases annually about OSHA fines and enforcement actions. The former administration considered this publicity an effective tool in reducing workplace safety violations. Since Trump took office, however, OSHA hasn't publicized any fines. Still, a DOL spokeswomen said that the agency's enforcement efforts haven't changed. (The New York Times)
House Votes to Block Obama-Era Rule
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution to block an OSHA rule extending the agency's authority to issue citations for record-keeping violations from six months to five years. If the resolution also passes the Senate, Trump is expected to sign it. (SHRM Online)
Both Chambers Vote to Strike Down Blacklisting Rule
The House and Senate also voted to strike down so-called blacklisting regulations requiring federal contractors to report workplace safety and other labor violations and potentially barring them from receiving contracts if they had serious infractions. Trump is expected to sign this resolution as well. (SHRM Online)
OSHA Rule Limiting Exposure to Beryllium Delayed
The Department of Labor announced the delay of an OSHA rule reducing permissible levels of beryllium exposure in the workplace. Beryllium is a lightweight metal that can cause cancer when its dust particles are inhaled. "OSHA said the delay gives the agency an opportunity for further review and consideration of the rule," The Hill reported. (The Hill)
Solicitor of Labor's Office Is Committed to OSHA Enforcement
The DOL's deputy solicitor of labor for national operations says the solicitor's office is committed to achieving OSHA's goals, which include improving workplace safety and health and promoting fair and high-quality work environments. (SHRM Online)
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