We came across the article “3 Ways OSHA Enforcement Will Change for Employers in 2019” on www.natlawreview.com, by Rufino Gaytán and Aaron P. McCann. The article briefly highlights three changes you should be aware of:
- OSHA has authorized compliance officers to use drones for workplace inspections. The use of drones is beneficial when the inspection sight is inaccessible or dangerous. The employer must give the officer consent to use a drone for inspection, and employees must be notified before it is launched.
- OSHA is implementing the use of random inspections for certain workplaces. Employers who did not provide 2016 form 300A data and those who reported high days away, restricted or transfer (DART) rates will be chosen at random for inspection. A random sample of employers with low DART rates will also be inspected. Finally, there will be a focus on inspections for lead, ship-breaking, trenching/excavations, process safety management, hazardous machinery, hexavalent chromium, federal agencies, primary metal industries, and combustible dust. Construction workplaces or those with 20 or fewer employees will be excluded from this new inspection plan.
- Maximum safety violation fines have been increased as of January 23, 2019. This was done to adjust for inflation. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act allows agencies to impose mandatory penalty increases each year.
As always, open doors and a well-publicized hotline can empower employees to speak-up before a potential problem becomes a real one. Employees should know that if they see something, they should say something.