The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission will soon lack a quorum—the minimum number of members needed to make decisions. That doesn’t just mean a possible slowdown in safety case reviews—employers could also see higher costs for appealing citations and a worse chance of prevailing.

So says Ed Foulke, a former chairman of the federal safety panel and former head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Foulke practices safety law as a partner at Fisher Phillips in Atlanta.

The federal appeals panel is set to lose its quorum when Commissioner Cynthia Attwood’s term ends this month. Attwood was twice...