May 28, 2009

Venable partner Ron Taylor quoted in Inside OSHA article on future issues facing OSHRC

2 min

A May 25th article in Inside OSHA reported on the recent confirmation of Thomasina Rogers as chair of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) and discussed possible impending issues facing the group. According to the article, workplace health and safety sources expect increased activity at the agency as the new administration considers significant changes in OSHA's enforcement policy and it is expected since that the remaining commission slot will be filled by a candidate favored by organized labor.

Venable partner Ronald Taylor was cited in the article saying he hasn't heard any specific names being floated for the position. 

Taylor also said it is difficult to predict which issues may come before OSHRC as OSHA vets new regulations and the passage of OSHA reform legislation looms. However, Taylor does expect to see cases before the commission "trying to further define multi-employer responsibility" since the federal appeals court ruling in Summit Contractors v. Department of Labor. 

Taylor added that a shift in the agency's enforcement scheme could boost the workload of the commission by increasing the number of contested cases that aren't settled. Taylor also questioned whether OSHRC has the staff and budgetary resources to handle such a bump.

"Seems to me there's a risk that the review commission could be short-manned and overworked based on some of the talk of increasing enforcement and penalties," said Taylor.