What OSHA Initiative Scares You Most?

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: May 4th, 2012

By Glenn Demby – In the years I’ve been covering the OSHA beat, I’ve seen a lot of changes in the way employers view OSHA.

Historically, the employer community has looked at OSHA with wary eyes. Fear and suspicion peaked during the Clinton Administration, fueled principally by the dreaded ergonomics standard.

By contrast, the OSHA of W. Bush came to be regarded as a big ol’ teddy bear, something akin to an ally that promoted voluntary compliance at the expense of enforcement. Of course, that was a total crock; but that at least was the perception.

Those halcyon days are gone. OSHA a la Obama has regained its nasty reputation. And deservedly so. I talk a lot about OSHA’s current activism—both in rulemaking and enforcement. But I was wondering what you employers were thinking.

So I posted a poll question on our SafetySmart Compliance website asking which OSHA initiative you were most afraid of.  Here’s how you responded:













Taking the Employers’ OSHA Fear Temperature

That so many of you were concerned about OSHA’s aggressive new enforcement tactics—repeat violations for offenses at different facilities, more aggressive use of the general duty clause to crack down on workplace violence and ergonomics, other-than-serious-violation settlement bait and switches, etc.—comes as no surprise.

But what does surprise me is the relative lack of concern you seem to have about new standards—especially GHS. Had I been a betting man, I’d have put my chips on GHS and Illness Injury Prevention Programs.

Instead of these stallions, the new standard initiatives that got the “place” and “show” positions, respectively, were noise protection and the OSHA 300 MSD column. Admittedly, complying with these initiatives would be mighty burdensome—especially the noise protection changes that would require more in the way of costly engineering solutions. The reason I’m surprised these items got so many votes is that both represent initiatives that OSHA has pulled off the table.

GHS and I2P2, by contrast, are very much in play.

So am I missing something here?

Tell Us What You’re Afraid of and We’ll Give You What You Need

Here’s my pledge: You folks tell me what you’re worried about and I’ll bust my behind to break down what OSHA is up to with regard to that issue and what to do to avoid getting into trouble.

Is it a deal?

E-mail Glenn about what you’re worried about at glennd@bongarde.com Or, just leave a comment below.