Good / Bad News: Less OSHA Investigations in 2014, but Investigations Will Be More Thorough

OSHA projects fewer employers will be inspected for safety violations in 2014 so that inspectors can undertake investigations that are more comprehensive according to the agency’s 2014 budget request.

OSHA plans to conduct 39,250 inspections in 2014, down from 41,000 in 2013. Despite OSHA’s aggrandizing about the fewer inspection, it’s really not a huge reduction in number.

OSHA plans to conduct more health inspections – like 450 more than last year – in facilities where emerging chemical and health issues are likely to arise. Refineries, chemical plans, and where employees are vulnerable to violence are also likely to see an increase in inspections. However, OSHA expects to do 2,200 fewer safety inspections next year.

According to OSHA, this change is simply reallocating its priorities to meet its budgetary constraints. Not all inspections are created equally. On average, a safety inspection takes 22 hours and a health inspection takes 34 hours. An ergonomics inspection can take hundreds of hours, while a process safety management inspection of an oil refinery can take 1,000+ hours.

Matt Austin is a Columbus, Ohio employment lawyer who owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm with offices in central and northeast Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can email Matt at Austin@LaborEmploymentOSHA.com or call him at 614.285.5342.

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