While OSHA, like much of the country, has been preoccupied with COVID-19 safety and health concerns in the past 18 months, employers should expect the Biden Administration and its new team at OSHA will turn their focus to other occupational safety and health issues as well.
Specifically, the agency’s regulatory agenda, as well as statements by officials, tell us that examples of key issues to watch include:
- Heat Illness Rulemaking and Enforcement
- Emphasis on Safety Enforcement in Transportation Tank Cleaning Operations
- Greater Focus on Concerns with Workplace Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals
- Assuring Safety Training is Provided in All Relevant Languages for the Workforce
- Enhanced Enforcement of Whistleblower Protections
These are just some examples of concerns that we should expect OSHA to emphasize. With the Administration and its supporters in Congress proposing unusually large increases to the agency’s budget - including its enforcement budget - the agency will have more money and staff to pursue its priorities. In sum, employers should be prepared for a far more active OSHA and should understand the agency's likely regulatory and enforcement priorities.