Search form

A Kinder, Gentler OSHA for Construction?

By Courtney M. Malveaux
  • September 24, 2018

While President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is awaiting Congressional confirmation, key agency decision makers are listening to the construction industry.

J. Gary Hill, Chairman of National Association of Home Builders’ Construction Health and Safety Committee, had testified before a House Committee on the “regulatory tsunami” OSHA unleashed in recent years. He suggested ways the agency can streamline and clarify workplace safety rules and reinvigorate relationships with industry experts through its Alliance program and OSHA’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health.

OSHA held a listening tour, asking industry stakeholders about how to enhance its compliance assistance efforts. On the day of the Congressional hearing, OSHA’s top official met with industry leaders to discuss agency plans to boost voluntary compliance.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta confirmed OSHA’s new approach. He assured workplace safety experts that “we’re not interested in playing a game of gotcha …. [T]he goal is to help the individual or the company that is trying in good faith to comply.”

OSHA appears to be changing the way it does business.

Today, OSHA is readdressing the controversial electronic recordkeeping requirements enacted in the waning days of the Obama Administration. Construction stakeholders have long expressed concerns about the risk of potentially disclosing private employee information. They also questioned the benefit of making injury information public.

In response, OSHA reopened its rulemaking process. It proposed eliminating the requirement that employers electronically submit the highly detailed incident information on their OSHA 300 Logs and 301 Forms. Instead, OSHA proposed requiring employers to provide only aggregated summary information on the OSHA 300A Form. (See our article, OSHA Recordkeeping: OSHA Only Requiring Electronic Submission of 300A Forms.)

Finally, construction and other industry stakeholders increasingly have voiced concerns to regulators and lawmakers that OSHA airs one-sided news releases when it cites companies. They pointed out that there is no “unsend” button for news releases based on facts an inspector got wrong. While OSHA has not abandoned the practice, it has noticeably taken a more reserved approach lately.

Please contact Jackson Lewis with any questions about developments at OSHA.

©2018 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at www.jacksonlewis.com.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

June 25, 2019

The Aging Construction Industry: Keeping Skilled Employees Longer

June 25, 2019

Workers in the construction industry tend to be older than those in other industries, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The median age of construction workers is 42 years old, a year older than the median in the national labor force. Further, the median age of workers in the industry is 44-45 years old in several U.... Read More

January 23, 2019

U.S. House Committee to Focus on Workforce Protections

January 23, 2019

Signaling a renewed emphasis on workforce protections at the opening of the 116th Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives has changed the name of its committee with jurisdiction over labor matters back to the Committee on Education and Labor. It was called the Committee on Education and the Workforce when Republicans held the... Read More

January 7, 2019

2019: The Year Ahead for Employers

January 7, 2019

Over the past year, state and local governments responded in a variety of ways to national policy, and the midterm elections painted a picture of what’s in store for employers in 2019 and beyond. Jackson Lewis’ annual report outlines upcoming issues, trends, legislation and regulations employers need to be aware of in the coming year... Read More

Related Practices