Trump Administration Ramps Up OSHA Enforcement

By Lehr Middlebrooks Vreeland & Thompson, P.C.

October 29, 2018

The  generalization  that  a  Republican  president  places  less  emphasis  on  employment  issues  enforcement  is  often wrong. For example, in all but two years of George W.  Bush’s  administration,  the  EEOC  filed  more  lawsuits  than   during  the  eight   years  of  President   Obama’s  administration.  The Trump  administration’s  OSHA  has  been  more aggressive  than  the  Obama  administration’s  agency. For example:  

1. The   annual   number   of   OSHA   inspections  increased  from  31,948  during  FY  2016  (the  last  year  of  President Obama’s  administration),  to  32,396  during  FY  2017  (the  first   year   of   President Trump’s administration). That increase was the first increase in 10 years.

2. OSHA’s budget has increased from $555 million during   the  last  year  of  President   Obama’s  administration  to  $560  million  during  the  Trump  administration. The number of OSHA employees has  remained   steady  during  the  Trump  administration,  at  approximately  2,000,  which  is  where  it  was  at  the  end  of   the Obama  administration.

3. The  repeat  violation  penalties  have   been substantially  higher  under  President  Trump’s  administration  compared  to  President  Obama’s  administration.

4. The  number  of  cases   during  the  Trump  administration where penalties of over $100,000 were  proposed  reached  an  all-time  high  of  218;  during  the  last   year  of  President   Obama’s  administration, that number was 164.

5. OSHA’s   civil   penalties   increased   during   the   Trump  administration compared  to  the  Obama  administration.

The  Trump  administration’s  most  significant  changes  in  employment  and  labor  include   the   NLRB   and   the   Department  of  Labor,  Wage  Hour  Division.  The  Trump  administration has essentially left the EEOC to pursue the enforcement  agenda  it  first  articulated  during  President  Obama’s  administration  and  for  OSHA  to  pursue  the  initiatives  created  during President Obama’s administration. Do not relax, employers.

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