OSHA rolls out 'Safe and Sound' campaign to encourage employer action
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has rolled out its "Safe and Sound" initiative, which asks employers to review their safety programs and identify areas for improvement, according to an agency press release.
- OSHA said that aside from work-related injuries being detrimental to workers and their families, they also cost businesses money, which hampers company growth and job creation.
- The agency highlighted the inspection areas of Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri — which saw a significant rise in fatalities related to trenching and excavating, confined space entry and struck-by motor vehicle incidents last year — as examples of the need for heightened attention to safety on job sites.
OSHA announced late last year that trench fatalities doubled from 2015 to 2016, confirming the agency's position that construction excavation and trenching operations are among the most dangerous work site activities.
Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that fatalities in the private construction industry rose 4% between 2014 and 2015, from 899 to 927. The injury rate for construction declined 0.1% in 2015 but still far outpaced the U.S. average across industries.
How OSHA will look in the coming years under the Trump administration is still up in the air, primarily because a new Department of Labor head has yet to be confirmed. Andrew Puzder, Trump's first nominee, withdrew amid concern that he would not be confirmed by the Senate. Trump's replacement nominee, Andrew Acosta, who has thus far garnered bipartisan support, is expected to be confirmed after his Senate hearing next week.
Still, Trump's promise to slash regulations and take a more business-friendly approach will likely have a a significant impact on the regulatory agency's future enforcement strategies.
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