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Review committees

Quicker case resolution part of new OSHRC strategic plan

August 27, 2013

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Washington – The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission intends to reduce the average length of time it takes to resolve cases as part of its new five-year strategic plan.

Released Aug. 23, the strategic plan sets a goal of reducing the average age of the oldest pending cases by 25 percent, and resolving all cases designated as “priority” within six months.

OSHRC, an independent agency made up of administrative law judges and commissioners, hears disputes between employers and OSHA regarding citations. The agency recently has seen a slight rise in cases, attributed to an increase in the average penalty issued by OSHA for serious violations.

The plan, which also includes efforts to improve transparency and efficiencies, assumes three commissioners eventually will be in place. For at least seven years, the commission has been without a third commissioner, limiting what OSHRC can accomplish.

“With fewer than three members, deadlocks on votes may result, action on important issues may be postponed, and action on pending cases may be delayed,” the strategic plan states.

Commissioners are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. At press time, the White House had not nominated a third commissioner.