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DOL announces major restructuring of OSHA regional operations

The strategic overhaul includes the inauguration of a new regional office in Birmingham, Alabama, and the consolidation of existing regions in the West.

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The Department of Labor unveiled significant restructuring plans for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), aimed at enhancing the agency’s efficiency and responsiveness across the United States. These strategic changes include the creation of a new regional office and the consolidation of existing regions.

A new OSHA office will open in Birmingham, Alabama, tasked with overseeing operations in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and the Florida Panhandle. This new Birmingham Region is set up in response to the growing worker population and the prevalent hazardous occupations in these areas, such as food processing, construction, heavy manufacturing, and chemical processing.

In addition to the establishment of the Birmingham office, OSHA will merge the existing Regions 9 and 10 into a single region based in San Francisco. This consolidation is intended to improve operations and reduce operating costs in the agency.

OSHA is also moving away from its current numerical region naming system to one that uses geographic identifiers. For instance, what is currently known as Region 4 will be renamed the Atlanta Region, covering Florida (excluding the Panhandle), Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The current Region 6 will become the Dallas Region, encompassing New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The renaming and restructuring are designed to better align OSHA’s resources with demographic and industrial shifts since the enactment of the OSH Act. Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker stated, "The changes will allow our professionals to better respond to the needs of all workers, including those historically underserved. With a stronger enforcement presence in the South and more consolidated state oversight and whistleblower presence in the West, we can direct our resources where they’re needed most."

OSHA plans to complete the transition to this new regional structure later in fiscal year 2024. The agency will update its regional maps and contact information on its website to reflect these changes, ensuring transparency and accessibility for the public.

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