The President just signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, H.R.3547, which will provide funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the 2014 fiscal year.
We previously blogged about OSHA’s 2014 Budget Justification, that included implementation of its new “weighted inspection system” to target the most serious hazards such as those found in refineries, trenching, shipbreaking, falls, chemical plants and industries that use crystalline silica, lead, and hexavalent chromium. Under this new system, the Agency planned to adjust its enforcement approach by developing a system to rate inspections on complexity.
By rating the complexity of an inspection, OSHA compliance officers and Area Offices will be focusing time and effort on “more complex inspections,” such as Process Safety Management (PSM) facilities and health inspections such as bloodborne pathogen, respiratory protection, and other hazards. OSHA believed that this “ultimately will have a greater impact on workplace safety and health.”
The Consolidated Appropriations Act increases OSHA’s funding above the 2013 sequestered spending limits to $552.2 million. While several compliance assistance programs are being cut, OSHA’s enforcement activities will receive $207.8 million — the full amount asked for by the White House. Accordingly, employers should continue to expect a high OSHA emphasis on enforcement inspections in 2014.