Rules to Come? Future Regulatory Agenda for OSHA

It’s that time of year again…when the federal government tells the regulated community what types of rulemaking initiatives that various agencies are undertaking for the year. Today, the semiannual regulatory agenda was published. This Regulatory Agenda provides a complete list of all regulatory actions that are under active consideration for promulgation, proposal, or review and covers regulatory actions for over 60 federal departments, agencies, and commissions.

The regulatory agenda for the Department of Labor includes a total of thirteen regulatory entries for OSHA specific actions.  In comparison, the regulatory agenda published in May 2016 had thirty two regulatory entries for OSHA specific actions. Additionally, sixteen agency actions have been removed completely from the current agenda, including Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), Combustible Dust, and Noise in Construction.  These initiatives have been classified as “completed actions” and for each initiative OSHA states, “OSHA is withdrawing this entry from the agenda at this time due to resource constraints and other priorities.” The removal of these initiatives from the agenda aligns with the Trump Administration’s goal of effective and less burdensome regulation. And other prior agency initiatives, such as Preventing Workplace Violence in Healthcare, Infectious Disease, and the Tree Care Standard have been classified as long term actions.

Of those initiatives remaining for OSHA, five of the thirteen rulemaking actions still are in the pre-rule stage.  At this stage, OSHA is simply gathering relevant information through stakeholder meetings or outreach measures.  The remaining eight regulatory actions are in the proposed rulemaking stage, and include rules that were promulgated and finalized under the Obama Administration and recently reopened under the Trump Administration, such as Occupational Exposure to Beryllium.

A summary of some of the regulatory actions under consideration by OSHA include:

 

RULE

 

ANTICIPATED AGENCY ACTION

 

Communication Tower Safety

 

Complete SBREFA in August 2017

 

Powered Industrial Trucks

 

Request for Information in December 2017

 

Lock-Out/Tag-Out Update

 

 

Request for Information April 2018

Mechanical Power Presses Update

Crane Operator Qualification in Construction

Request for Information in February 2018

 

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in July 2017

 

Blood Lead Level for Medical Removal

 

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in April 2018

 

Occupational Exposure to Beryllium

 

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Comment Period Ends August 2018

 

Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

 

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in October 2017

 The full federal Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan can be found online at:

http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaMain

OSHA Exempts Monorail Hoists from Cranes and Derricks Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a new enforcement policy that excludes monorail hoists from regulations on cranes and derricks in constructions.

Stakeholders had argued that monorail hoists are not the same as cranes and derricks in construction, pointing out that these hoists are attached to fixed monorails mounted on trucks, trailers, scaffolding systems, and other equipment. To read my full article, click here.

Construction Contractors Develop New Safety Helmets

Construction firms are developing new safety helmets designed to provide workers with better protection from falls and to curb fatal injuries, according to a report from Bloomberg BNA.

According to government researchers, from 2003 to 2010, 2,210 fatal traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occurred in the construction industry, a rate of 2.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Workers aged 65 and older had the highest fatal TBI rates among all workers, and falls were the most frequent cause. Workers in the structural iron and steel industries had the highest fatal TBI rates. To read my full article, click here.

OSHA Fall Protection Rule Raises Questions Over ‘Temporary, Relatively Infrequent’ Work

New questions are emerging about key provisions the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s updated rule to prevent falls.

Effective January 17, 2017, the final rule updating OSHA’s general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standards permits certain work near the edge of low-slope roofs without fall protection systems, as long as the work is “temporary, relatively infrequent.”  To read my full article, click here.

KY OSHA Delays Silica Compliance Date for Construction Industry

In March 2016, Federal OSHA promulgated a final rule on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica for Construction, which established a new permissible exposure limit and contained several ancillary provisions that apply to the construction industry. The rule was codified at 29 C.F.R § 1926.1153 and became effective on June 23, 2016. Under the standard, all requirements were to begin on June 23, 2017 except for requirements for sample analysis which are delayed until June 23, 2018.  In April 2017, Federal OSHA announced a delay in enforcement of the silica standard for the construction industry until September 23, 2017.

Following the promulgation of this standard, Kentucky’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted the requirements of 29 C.F.R. 1926.1101 to 1926.1153 regulating occupational silica exposure.  On June 26, 2017, Kentucky’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board issued an emergency regulation that amended the parallel Kentucky silica standard to align the deadline for the construction industry in the state of Kentucky with Federal OSHA. The amendment states that the provisions of section 1926.1153 “shall not take effect as to the construction industry until the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration begins to enforce the standard.”

As a result, Kentucky employers in the construction industry have until September 23, 2017 to come into compliance with the provisions of section 1926.1153, Respirable Crystalline Silica in the Construction Industry.

 

 

 

OSHA Proposes to Delay Electronic Submission of Recordkeeping Forms Until December

As part of the final rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illness, issued in May 2016, employers  had a phased in compliance deadline for the electronic submission of recordkeeping forms.  For 2017, employers with establishments with 250 or more employees and establishments with less than 250 employees but 20 or more in certain high-risk industries were required to electronically submit their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017.  However, in May OSHA announced that it intended to delay the July 1, 2017 compliance date for the electronic submission of the 2016 Form 300A but did not provide a a new date for compliance.

OSHA recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to delay the electronic reporting requirements by five months to December 1, 2017.  In the NPRM, OSHA stated,  “this delay will…allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, which will not be available until August 1.”  Based on the NPRM, OSHA will make the secure website that OSHA intends to use for the submission of these recordkeeping forms available on August 1, 2017.

OSHA is accepting comments on the proposed delay until July 13, 2017.  The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) submitted comments urging OSHA to delay the compliance date further noting, “Because OSHA declared its intention to re-examine the rule, either in whole or in part, NFIB recommends the agency consider a delay of the compliance date to July 1, 2018. OSHA should not require compliance with the 2016 Final Rule in any manner while the agency works to reconsider, revise, or remove provisions of the rule. A delay of one year would give OSHA sufficient time to consider revisions to the 2016 final rule without requiring small and independent businesses to comply with a flawed rule that is likely to change.”

OSHA also intends to reconsider, revise or remove other provisions of the final rule and has stated that they will issue a separate notice of proposed rulemaking in the near future.

 

 

OSHA Considers Extending Crane Certification Deadline

The Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration met on June 20, 2017, to learn about and give recommendations on OSHA’s proposed rule to extend the enforcement date for crane operator certification requirements of the revised Crane Standard, 29 C.F.R. 1926 Subpart CC, issued in 2010.  Click here to read my article.

Beryllium Exposure Rule Going Through Changes, OSHA Admits

The rule to lower permissible workplace exposure to beryllium is undergoing changes in a White House review, Occupational Safety and Health Administration deputy director for standards and guidance Maureen Ruskin has told safety specialists, as reported by Bloomberg BNA. The final rule took effect on May 20, 2017, and employers must comply with most of the rule’s requirements by March 12, 2018.  Click here to read my full article.

Removal of Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule Imminent: GSA Issues Interim Memorandum

Rulemaking is underway to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to remove the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Final Rule, the General Services Administration has said in guidance to federal agencies instructing them not to wait for the formal rescission to ensure certain contract clauses are not in new or existing government contracts and solicitations.  Click here to read the full article.

Employers Do Not Have to Report Injury for Employee Who Does a ‘Daily Stretching Program,’ OSHA Says

Employers do not have to report a worker as having an injury if they instruct the worker to do regular stretching exercises for a “minor discomfort,” the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has concluded in an interpretation letter released on May 24, 2017.

In the letter, OSHA responded to a question on whether “an employee’s continued participation in a daily stretching program constitutes medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes.”  To read my full article, click here.

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