by Bill Taylor, CSP
Principal Safety Scientist

As we move into 2021 and the new Biden administration, we can, as with every new administration, expect to see changes. This includes changes in the areas of workplace safety and health as well. Although still a bit early, we can make a few safe assumptions based on discussions coming out of Washington.

President Biden has appointed Jim Frederick as the new OSHA Acting Administrator and Deputy Assistant Secretary. Mr. Frederick previously served as Assistant Director and Principal investigator for the United Steelworkers’ health, safety and environment department from 1994 to 2019.

What’s on the Agenda?
COVID-19 is still at the top of OSHA’s list of challenges for worker safety, so we expect to see an increased effort to protect workers from the virus. One way is in the form of an emergency temporary standard (ETS) similar to what we have seen in a few of the state-plan states such as California, Virginia, Michigan, and Oregon. There is also a good chance work will resume on the infectious diseases standard, which OSHA has been working on for more than a decade.

As a presidential candidate, Biden promised additional compliance officers, enabling OSHA to increase the number of workplace inspections resulting in a stronger enforcement effort. While still early, there is no reason thus far to think that President Biden will not follow through on this promise.

Finally, several new standards have been mentioned for development. Some include tree care, heat stress and workplace violence in the healthcare industry. Stay tuned to this blog for future developments as they become available.

Bill Taylor, CSP serves as a Principal Safety Scientist with The EI Group, Inc. and has over 40 years in the safety industry. If you have questions regarding OSHA or have a need for safety compliance consulting, you may contact him at ( 919) 459-5249 or btaylor@ei1com.