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February 06, 2017
Trump’s Executive Order to cut regulations: What does it mean for OSHA?

On January 30, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order intended to make good on his promise to cut government regulations. What’s the potential impact on OSHA? Keep reading to find out.

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The order requires that “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process.” The so-called “two for one” order affects executive departments and agencies, such as OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency.

It states that, “For fiscal year 2017, which is in progress, the heads of all agencies are directed that the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including repealed regulations, to be finalized this year shall be no greater than zero, unless otherwise required by law or consistent with advice provided in writing by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.”

The apparent intent is that the cost of new regulation be offset by the elimination of existing rules. Certain exclusions apply.

Opposition to the Executive Order was summed up by Robert Verchick who heads the Center for Progressive Reform. He commented that, “It seeks to ration the American people’s health and safety by forcing agencies to arbitrarily drop rules, even if those regulations prevent illnesses, reduce exposure to toxic chemicals, or decrease the number of deaths and serious injuries in the workplace.”

Recently, the president told business leaders he would cut regulation by 75 percent. OSHA watchers say the new order, and the Trump administration’s overall anti-regulatory posture, could signal a significant change in agency direction. Possible targets could include OSHA’s controversial electronic recordkeeping rule, which would also make companies’ posted injury and illness data available to the public online.

The text of the Executive Order can be viewed at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-02-03/html/2017-02451.htm.

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