Safety and OSHA News

5 OSHA proposals that business groups fear most

The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has issued a report on regulatory impediments to job creation. The report lists five OSHA proposals that business groups say would inhibit job growth.

The committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), asked employers and business groups to express their concerns about government regulations that had the potential to limit job creation.

The five OSHA proposals that businesses are most concerned about are:

1. Noise standards

OSHA had proposed to reinterpret part of its noise standard to require employers to use more engineering and administrative solutions to decrease employees’ noise exposure instead of relying solely on hearing protection.

Business groups said the new interpretation would add substantial costs for employers.

Last month, OSHA withdrew its proposal to study alternative approaches.

2. Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2)

The report says business groups view OSHA’s I2P2 proposal as a mandate that will undermine their current safety programs and lead to inconsistent and unpredictable safety violations by OSHA inspectors.

The American Iron and Steel Institute worries that OSHA will use the rule to “double dip” when assessing citations and fines for violations “both covered and not covered by a specific OSHA standard.”

Once again, cost was noted as a factor, as well as the fear that the program would create a “paperwork nightmare” for employers.

3. OSHA Form 300 musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) column

Business groups are concerned that the new reporting requirement would allow OSHA to use its general duty clause to issue violations in lieu of a national ergonomics standard.

OSHA withdrew this proposal last month, saying it would seek more input from small businesses.

4. Consultation agreements

OSHA proposed a rule that would allow compliance officers to conduct an inspection as a result of a voluntary on-site consultation, as well as conduct an enforcement visit even if the company is part of OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement and Recognition Program (SHARP).

Currently, in both cases, companies would be exempt from an inspection.

Business groups commented that this rule would create a disincentive for businesses to reach out to OSHA for fear they would be subject to inspections and fines.

5. Combustible dust standard

Business groups are concerned that OSHA’s proposed combustible dust standard doesn’t differentiate among various industries.

Employers say it may be better for OSHA to address combustible dust without a “one-size-fits-all” standard.

A PDF of the committee’s report is available here.

Do you think the concerns expressed by the various business groups are valid? How should OSHA address these issues? Let us know in the Comments Box below.

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  1. PO'd Safety Guy says:

    Two fo the five proposals have been withdrawn….for now. I think business opposition to all of them is valid.
    1. A ridiculous proposal. For example, engineering noise reduction into old equipment is difficult if not impossible, and very costly if it is possible.
    2. Watch this one. The double-dip argument makes sense. OSHA wants your money.
    3. OSHA needs to first develop a standard.
    4. OSHA wants your money.
    5. OSHA wants your money.

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