OSHA Inspections Continue to Climb to Record Numbers

24 Jun, 2019

On the heels of a frightening bridge crash in Miami, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta recently said that he “fully expects” OSHA inspections to increase once new inspectors are trained. Acosta’s remarks are in line with the significant increase in enforcement actions employers have seen in the past two fiscal years.
“The DOL’s enforcement actions across the vast majority of its offices and agencies have increased in the past two fiscal years,” says human resources expert Rob Wilson, President Employco USA, a national employment-solutions firm with locations across the country. 
OSHA inspections exceeded 32,000 in both 2017 and 2018, compared to 31,948 inspections in 2016. And, increased inspections could be the reason why workplaces have seen decreased accidents, with 40,000 less workplace incidents injuries and 43 less fatalities when comparing 2016 and 2017 numbers. 
What does increased action by OSHA  mean for employers? 
“In the 2016 fiscal year, OSHA conducted 31,948 inspections, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) recovered $352 million in enforcement actions,” Rob Wilson explains. “Comparatively, according to the most recent data, the EBSA recovered $1.1 billion in enforcement actions. Despite the increased action, DOL guidance on complying with rules and regulations has decreased.”
Wilson advises that employers should be aware that the uptick of DOL enforcement actions will continue. As such, they should take action to review and evaluate their compliance obligations to avoid costly fines and penalties. In particular, employers should review their OSHA obligations, as the DOL has communicated that inspections will continue to increase.”