Workers on construction sites depend on OSHA rules and safety regulations to keep them safe on site. A new government study suggests that the agency takes an average of eight years to adopt new safety regulations. This could leave Chicago and Illinois workers vulnerable to serious accidents, injury, and preventable death.
Critics believe that the setbacks are a result of procedural and political roadblocks that make the agency too cautious in setting new rules regarding dangerous chemicals and other on-the-job hazards. The agency takes about 50 percent longer than other agencies, such as the EPA and the Transportation department to approve new regulations.
Advocates for new practices believe that the OSHA delays are unacceptable and causing workers to lose their lives. For example, OSHA took nearly a decade to issue safety rules on construction cranes, leaving thousands of workers vulnerable to the severe injuries and fatalities caused by toppling cranes.
OSHA officials reported that pressure and litigation from business groups limits their ability to make swift and proactive decisions. Any decisions can be considered political and must be made carefully, particularly during an election year. OSHA should make worker safety a priority when establishing rules.
Business will be encouraged by new practices and regulations if they understand that better safety practices will limit injury and prevent future litigation and claims.