Safety and OSHA News

Top 4 rules on OSHA’s regulatory action list

A top OSHA official recently gave an overview of where the agency stands with creating new and updating existing regulations.

OSHA deputy administrator Jordan Barab updated attendees at a U.S. Small Business Labor Safety Roundtable. An attendee gave an overview of Barab’s presentation in The National Law Review.

Barab said these four rules pending final agency action are on top of OSHA’s to-do list:

  • Confined Space in Construction
  • Silica
  • Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems, and
  • Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses (electronic recordkeeping).

Of those four, Barab said Confined Space in Construction would be released first. The standard would mostly align with the confined space standard for general industry.

The silica rule will be “innovative, but OSHA is trying to make it user friendly,” according to Barab. OSHA’s proposal would reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air from 100.

OSHA’s proposed injury recordkeeping revisions would require:

  • facilities that must keep injury and illness records under OSHA regulations and have 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from these records to OSHA on a quarterly basis
  • facilities that must keep injury and illness records, have 20 or more employees and are in designated industries, to electronically submit the information from the annual summary (Form 300A) to OSHA, and
  • all employers that receive notification from OSHA to electronically submit specified information from their injury and illness records.

The information would be made public on OSHA’s webpage. Business groups have voiced their opposition to that part of the proposed rule update.

Another regulatory priority for OSHA is revising the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard in response to President Obama’s Executive Order on workplace chemical safety. This update is in the early stages. Barab said OSHA has committed to conducting a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) review by May 28, 2015.

What are your thoughts on these proposed OSHA regulatory changes? Let us know in the comments.

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