The 2016 presidential election is finally over and a new president will be taking office in January. The federal government presides over a vast network of agencies affecting the rights of workers, so the impact of this election could have an effect on what happens to those workers when the new president is sworn in. In particular, it will be important to understand how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will operate under President Donald Trump.
Whatever OSHA does, or does not do, it is still in an employer’s best interests to maintain a safe worksite for employees. If an employer provides adequate protection for workers, the risk of injuries go down. This means fewer workers’ compensation claims and healthier, safer employees.
If an injury does happen, the affected worker or his family should consult with an Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney to find out options for pursuing a benefits claim.
How Will the Election Impact Atlanta Work Safety Issues?
Safety News Alert recently took a look at the impact that the election is likely to have on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Although nothing is certain until the president elect takes office and begins making policy changes, Safety News Alert indicates that regulations could be cut, or rules not defended in court.
In particular, there are concerns about the future of two different regulations that have proved to be controversial. The first relates to silica safety standards and the second relates to the electronic reporting of injuries. These regulations cannot simply be overturned since the regulations are more than 60 days old and the Congressional Review Act only allows for regulations to be rescinded or overturned within 60 days. If congress wants to get rid of the regulations, they would need to go through the full rule-making process, which takes several years to complete. However, since the regulations are being challenged in court, the administration could decline to defend them and they would effectively die as a result.
It is unclear if this will happen or not. Safety News Alert indicates that while the president ran on cutting regulations, he also ran on promises to improve life for workers. Cutting regulations that are helping workers may not be a part of the plan.
There are also some rules that are part of the reporting requirement regulation that aim to limit drug testing and to address the implementation of new safety incentive programs. The current administration is interpreting these rules to protect workers from retaliation and to prohibit employers from using incentive programs and drug testing to deter reporting of workplace injuries. The new administration could possibly interpret those rules differently.
OSHA could also see its budget cut and its resources shifted. Republican administrations in the past have reportedly focused more on aiding compliance than on conducting investigations to punish violations, and this could happen again in the future.
OSHA is also likely to have an interim administrator until at least summer or fall of 2017, so any changes could be slow to come. It is important to monitor for any weakening of workplace safety rules. Regardless of these rules, however, employers still will have rights… including the right to benefits after getting hurt on-the-job.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.