OSHA Jobsite Inspections Starting New Weekend Rollout
Business as Usual?
The move could signify at least a partial return, under President Joe Biden, to a more methodical approach for the agency, whose presence in enforcing worksite safety was often diminished under former President Donald Trump’s administration. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, site visits were limited and the agency faced a shortfall of compliance officers, according to a Wall Street Journal investigation.
“Construction doesn’t stop just because it’s Saturday or Sunday,” said Joel Nobles, a consultant for workplace safety firm YellowBird, who lives in a new home community in Colorado Springs and sees weekend jobsite activity firsthand. “Most workers have never seen OSHA on the weekend, so they might think they can get away with a little more working at heights without fall protection, or without shoring up trenches and excavations.”
Why That May Be Changing
“There does seem to be a thoughtful, deliberative process within this administration in terms of worker safety,” Sigmond said. “This rollout may reflect some of that effort.”
At the same time, Sigmond said the agency hasn’t been as visible under Biden as many in the safety and compliance community anticipated.
“I think many people, myself included, expected the Biden administration to be more active than the prior administration,” Sigmond said. “I think they have tried to depoliticize the agency and put the technocrats back in charge, but they are moving very cautiously.”