U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta told a House Appropriations subcommittee last week he expects Occupational Safety and Health Administration job-site inspections to increase once a new group of OSHA agents completes training, according to www.constructiondive.com.
In a written statement to the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Acosta said OSHA hired 76 new inspectors during the 2018 fiscal year and it would be a year to three years before they will be ready to conduct field inspections on their own. Still, he told subcommittee members OSHA conducted 32,000 inspections each year in 2017 and 2018—an increase from 2016 figures.
Acosta said the president is requesting $557 million for OSHA in his fiscal year 2020 budget request, which would pay for additional staff, including 30 compliance officers and five whistleblower investigators. Acosta also said he was able to take on new OSHA inspectors early in the Trump administration by lifting the White House hiring freeze at the agency.