In 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has continued to operate much as it did in 2018 and under the prior administration. Inspection data shows that the agency is operating in a manner similar to that of the last two years of the Obama administration. The agency made 32,020 inspections in fiscal year 2018 compared to 31,948 in fiscal year 2016. This has been at least in part due to the fact that in May 2019, President Trump’s appointee as Assistant Secretary of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Scott A. Mugno, withdrew his name from consideration for the position. He was first nominated in late 2017, and never had been confirmed. This lack of new guidance from Washington means that employers can expect the focus to continue on the traditional enforcement priorities with which most employers are familiar, especially responding to employee complaints. OSHA has made great efforts to raise employee awareness and made the filing of complaints an easy process.
Central to OSHA enforcement is workplace inspections. They can be initiated because of routine inspection programming, as the result of an employee complaint, or as part of a workplace accident investigation. While an employer may not have control over why or when an inspection is to take place, they have a great deal of control over its results. Proper planning for an eventual OSHA inspection can mean the difference between a clean bill of health or multiple citations and their attendant fines.