By Aaron Trippler
So here we go—a second Obama administration. What does this mean for occupational safety and health? You will hear one side talk about increased regulatory activity and enforcement. The other side will talk about how they must be vigilant in opposing regulations and enforcement that hinder business. The real answer is probably somewhere in between.
I don't expect to see the White House jump on the bandwagon for occupational safety and health. I don't expect Congress to seriously consider many legislative measures that might address workers. However, I do expect OSHA to take a more aggressive stance on some of the issues that have been left hanging.
Expect to see the Injury and Illness Prevention Program move forward. Expect some kind of activity on silica, recordkeeping, combustible dust—maybe even updating the Permissible Exposure Limits. But there is a big difference between moving forward with activity and actually seeing a result. The standard-setting process is broken so much that I doubt OSHA could enact a standard in the next four years. Let's hope OSHA tries to move forward, but until the process is fixed, don't expect any real regulatory activity to succeed.
That means the "status quo" for the next four years.