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Will Trump deregulate workplace safety rules?

Donald Trump ran an unprecedented and unpredictable campaign, which is carrying into the early days of his administration. With campaign promises to ease the burden on businesses while decreasing regulations, it's fair to assume that OSHA will be affected by the incoming president.

There are two paths to predicting what a Trump administration will look like: by considering his business history and reviewing his campaign speeches.

Trump's campaign

A core piece of Trump's campaign was an emphasis on easing business obligations through deregulation. He specifically promised to remove two existing regulations for each new measure adopted. This spotlight on smaller government and business freedom suggests a reduced role for OSHA. Noting Trump's blue-collar voter base, though, one shouldn't assume massive change to safety regulations.

Trump's business

Given his real estate development background, Trump brings a new perspective to the Oval Office. His business has been fined for OSHA violations, as have contractors and subcontractors used by his company. While regulatory bodies like OSHA are often a low priority for a new president, Trump's personal experience with the agency could increase how much attention it receives.

Industry predictions

Considering these factors, industry experts think OSHA will shift away from enforcement, instead focusing on compliance assistance. Enforcement and inspection are some of the more costly elements of the agency, while fines and follow-up checks cut into a business's income.

Otherwise, new regulations may be at risk. Several industry groups view electronic recordkeeping of work-injuries and illnesses as a burden, and a new silica exposure limit that is set to begin this June will have a measurable impact on the construction industry.

Workplace injuries

A president usually doesn't directly affect agencies like OSHA until they have settled into office. Given Trump's personal history and his stated interest in deregulation, it's likely that OSHA will see changes in the coming term.

OSHA's mission statement is "to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance." Regulations exist to keep workers safe on the job and to limit accidents.

Even with OSHA's safety record, injuries still happen on the job. When they do, workers are entitled to workers' compensation that includes medical expenses, recovery and healing time and, in select cases, additional training. Anyone who has been injured should seek treatment and explore their options to make sure they're receiving fair treatment. While OSHA exists to protect workers, workers' compensation is there when accidents happen.

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