Secretary of Labor Expects OSHA Inspections to Increase, Here’s Why

via the House Appropriations Committee

via the House Appropriations Committee

On April 3, a congressional appropriations hearing was held to discuss the U.S. Department of Labor’s Federal funding for fiscal year 2020.  During the hearing, the secretary of Labor, R. Alexander Acosta, told the committee how OSHA plans to spend their budget and how the agency fared in the previous year.

Despite losing headcount of compliance officers due in part to the federal government hiring freeze in early 2017, OSHA hired 76 Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHO) in Fiscal Year 2018.  The agency also plans to hire an additional full-time 26 CSHOs in FY2019.

Acosta mentioned that new CSHOs are not able to perform unsupervised inspections until they have one to three years of experience.

“Once these inspectors can go out in the field independently, I fully expect, and have told OSHA that I expect, the inspections to be up even more,” Acosta explained.

Although there are dozens new CSHOs on staff, the total headcount of compliance officers was at a record low of 875 as of January 1st.  As a comparison, there were 1,016 compliance officers on staff.

Despite the record low staff, OSHA still performed over 32,000 inspections per year in both FY 2017 and 2018, which was a slight increase over FY 2016’s 31,948.

For FY 2020, OSHA is expecting to receive an increase on their budget, albeit a modest one.  They were given $557.2 million for FY 2019 and will be given an additional $300,000 for FY 2020.

You can watch the entire 2+ hour hearing below, but most of the information about OSHA begins at the 1:25:00 mark.