In 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continued to advance its mission to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for U.S. workers. It conducted 33,401 inspections, identified 137,885 workplace hazards, and provided over a million workers with training on safety and health requirements. In 2020, OSHA plans to continue addressing issues and making changes to promote and improve workplace safety; the following are the proposed rulemakings and initiatives to expect.
Respirable Crystalline Silica
Earlier this year, OSHA made a Request for Information regarding potential changes to its rule on Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. The proposed revision would permit general industry employers to alternatively comply with the standard for the construction industry, thereby reducing regulatory burdens while helping to minimize workplace respirable crystalline silica exposure. In 2020, OSHA will review the information it received from the industry regarding this, as well as the effectiveness of control measures not listed in Table 1 of its Respirable Crystalline Silica rule.
OSHA will also analyze comments it received in response to its requests for information regarding its lockout/tagout regulations and powered industrial truck regulations. The agency is planning to modernize the lockout/tagout standard by using control circuit-type devices in lieu of energy isolating devices. It is also planning to expand the use of robotics in warehouses and fulfillment centers.
OSHA reports that at least two million workers are victims of workplace violence each year. Health care and social service workers, correctional officers, taxi and delivery drivers, and those who work in retail establishments are among those at the highest risk. On OSHA’s agenda for 2020 is an Emergency Response rule, which will be developed by a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act panel.
The Aging Workforce
In the upcoming year, OSHA and NIOSH will also be paying attention to the aging workforce. The number of workers aged 65 and older has increased by 117 percent over the past 20 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reports that workers aged 65 and older have the highest fatal injury rate; the most prevalent events leading to injuries or fatalities are falls, assaults, toxic exposures, and transportation accidents.
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry and fall protection continues to be one of the most frequently cited OSHA violations. In 2017, OSHA updated a final rule on walking-working surfaces to help prevent fall injuries and fatalities in the workplace. Although the new rule gave employers more flexibility in selecting fall protection systems for workers, many felt that the current requirements for stair rail systems were unclear. Therefore, OSHA will clarify this requirement in April 2020 when it plans to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking.
Cherry Hill Work Injury Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP Advocate for Injured Workers
If you were injured on the job, contact a Cherry Hill work injury lawyer at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP. Our skilled attorneys will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for your work-related injury or illness. From our office in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden, Cinnaminson, Delran, Maple Shade, and Pennsauken. Complete our online contact form or call us at 856-761-3773 for a free consultation today.