BRT: Admin efforts “increasing costs without enhancing workplace safety”

The Business Roundtable has issued a letter to White House budget director Peter Orszag about the group’s concerns over potentially misguided efforts that will do little (if anything) to boost workplace safety while raising the burden on employers.

Regarding the “Protecting America’s Workers Act” BRT writes (with our emphasis in bold):

The Administration’s policy to increase penalties for OSHA citations, expand criminal liability for certain violations and require immediate abatement for serious hazards is increasing costs without enhancing workplace safety.

Instead, promoting a collaborative engagement between employers and the agency enhances economic competitiveness. Granting compliance officers the ability to require employers to immediately abate certain hazards may result in expensive redesigns of workplaces and production systems. If an employer is successful in overturning a citation through the review process they still may be found to bear the costs of the abatement which was immediately required.

And regarding record-keeping requirements for “musculoskeletal disorders” BRT writes:

The Administration’s policy regarding OSHA’s proposed regulation to add a column to OSHA form 300s to record MSDs includes a very broad definition of such disorders. OSHA has inaccurately assessed the impact and cost of compliance. This proposal will require extensive compliance efforts because the overly broad definition of MSD will demand a new and subjective recordkeeping of highly complicated physical conditions. If implemented in the form proposed, this new requirement will put employers in the position of making medical determinations regarding the “work relatedness” of potential MSDs.

For more, see full letter here.

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