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Washington Labor & Employment Wire » OSHA Announces Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda

OSHA Announces Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda


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On December 7, 2009, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (”OSHA”) released its  semi-annual regulatory agenda identifying the regulations it has selected to review or develop over the next twelve months. Included in the twenty-seven item agenda are the following significant regulatory items in the final rule, proposed rule, pre-rule, and long-term stages. While OSHA has published a schedule for these items, the published dates are tentative and subject to change. The OSHA provisions are included in the DOL

Regulations in Final Rule Stage

In September 2010, OSHA expects to take final action on its Electric Power Transmission and Distribution and Electrical Protective Equipment proposed rule. OSHA published the proposed rule on June 15, 2005 and held a public hearing from March 6-14, 2006. OSHA also reopened the record in October 2008 and in September 2009, which included a public hearing on October 28, 2009, seeking comments on revised minimum approach distance tables.

In July 2010, OSHA plans to issue a final rule regarding the cranes and derricks in construction proposed rulemaking. OSHA published the proposed rule on October 9, 2008 and held a public hearing from March 17-20, 2009.

Regulations in Proposed Rule Stage

In January 2010, OSHA intends to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to include a definition of work-related musculoskeletal disorders to its recordkeeping regulations in 29 C.F.R. Part 1904. This notice of proposed rulemaking would also add a separate column on the OSHA 300 Log so employers could track these disorders on the log.

In February 2010, OSHA plans to hold a public hearing on its proposed rule that would modify the hazard communication standard to make it consistent with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. OSHA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on September 30, 2009.

By March 2010, OSHA expects to analyze comments it received in connection with its proposed rule to extend confined-spaces protection to construction workers. OSHA published the proposed rule on November 28, 2007 and held a public hearing on July 22, 2008.

Also in March 2010, OSHA intends to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking on walking working surfaces and personal fall protection systems. OSHA initiated a proposed rulemaking in 1990 and reopened the record for that rulemaking in 2003.  Based on the comments received in 2003, OSHA has determined that the 1990 proposed rule is out-of-date and does not account for current technology and industry practice.

Regulations in Pre-Rule Stage

By January 2010, OSHA plans to complete a peer review of the occupational exposure standard for crystalline silica as part of the process for developing a proposed standard for crystalline silica. This review will include an analysis of the possible health effects resulting from such exposure and the economic impact that recommended protective measures will have on employers. OSHA also expects to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking for this standard by July 2010.

On January 19, 2010, OSHA expects to end the comment period for the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking it issued on October 21, 2009 for a general industry combustible dust standard.

In March 2010, OSHA plans to implement a peer review of occupational exposure to beryllium. In January 2008, OSHA completed a Small Business Regulatory Business Fairness Act (”SBREFA”) panel that published a report, including a draft proposed rule, on occupational exposure to beryllium.

By April 2010, OSHA expects to complete Section 610 (of the Regulatory Flexibility Act) reviews of its current methylene chloride standard, 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1052, and its current bloodborne pathogens standard, 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1030. These reviews will consider the need for either standard; whether either standard overlaps, duplicates, or conflicts with other regulations; and the degree to which technology, economic conditions, or others factors have changed since either rule was last evaluated.

In June 2010, OSHA plans to convene a stakeholder’s meeting to discuss a possible comprehensive emergency response standard. While OSHA recognizes that emergency responder health and safety is regulated under numerous standards, including the fire brigade, hazardous waste operations and emergency response, respiratory protection, permit-required confined space, and bloodborne pathogens standards, OSHA has concluded that none of these standards was designed to address the full range of hazards facing emergency responders.

In October 2010, OSHA expects to initiate a peer review of occupational exposure to diacetyl, a major component in artificial butter. In July 2009, OSHA completed a SBREFA panel that published a report, including a draft proposed rule, on occupational exposure to diacetyl.

Long-Term Actions

OSHA continues to collect information on noise-induced hearing loss among workers in the construction industry and may promulgate a rule that mandates employers to establish a hearing conservation program for construction workers.