Employers are not simply morally obligated to provide their workers with a safe environment, there are safety guidelines in place that are strictly regulated by the government. Ultimately, employers must adhere to these regulations or risk being fined after an inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Given the fact that this department is operated under the direction of the federal government, it's safe to assume that a new presidential administration will usher in some types of changes for OSHA and workplace safety regulations. According to an article published in Safety and Health Magazine, there are a handful of changes expected as the new administration transitions.
Safety Rules that May Change Under the Trump Administration
- The number of regulations will likely be minimized under the Trump administration, as this is generally a priority for Republicans across all levels of government. During his campaign, President Trump promoted the need for smaller government and less regulations. It's likely that he will apply these principals to OSHA quicker than most presidents, as his career was based in the construction and real estate industry. His businesses were often impacted by the workplace safety rules and regulations.
- The electronic recordkeeping rule may be one of the first to change. The current electronic recordkeeping rule was created by OSHA in order to improve data collection regarding workplace illnesses and injuries. Workers who are injured or become ill as a result of working conditions are required to report the instances electronically, and the data is subsequently published on the OSHA website. As part of this rule, there is an anti-retaliation clause that prevents employers from interfering during the data collection process. Employers are not allowed to prohibit or discourage employees from reporting incidents.
- A recently enacted silica rule also may be removed. This rule was approved in March 2016 and it won't go into effect for most employers until 2018. It limits the amount of respirable crystalline silica that employees are exposed to during an 8-hour shift. The new limits that are expected to be put in place are nearly half of the amount that has been considered safe according to general industry standards, so they could be seen as additional and unnecessary regulations by the administration.
- There is a possibility that the "blacklisting rule" may be eliminated. This is another recently enacted rule that requires any business wishing to do business with the federal government to disclose any labor law violations the firm had been charged with in the past. Eliminating this rule may not be a top priority, but it's likely one that President Trump will address during his term.
Rules regulationg heavy machinery
Workers who are required to use heavy machinery and work in high-risk environments should be aware that changes may be coming from the new presidential administration. It's important for employees to understand the regulations that are put in place and to be aware of the precautions being taken by their employers, as less regulations could lead to an increase in risk on the job.
Injured on the job in Southern California? Talk to a workers' compensation attorney
Permanent work-related disabilities may also qualify you to receive Social Security disability benefits.Employees who are seriously injured while they are working should contact an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in workers' compensation and social security disability laws. Your attorney can provide you with in-depth information about the current regulations and what level of benefits you may qualify for.
If you would like assistance filing a workers' compensation claim or you would like to seek additional damages from your employer, your attorney can provide you with the guidance and resources you need in order to maneuver through the legal system.
To find out more information about OSHA and workplace regulations, or to set up a consultation appointment, contact our Los Angeles workers' compensation firm today.