The federal government has released its revised regulatory agenda. It lists 10 new or revised OSHA rules for 2013, with more to come in future years.
Here are six proposed regulations that will impact companies this year if OSHA holds to its schedule:
- Electric Power Transmission and Distribution; Electrical Protective Equipment (March 2013): The construction industry standard addressing the safety of workers during the construction of electric power transmission and distribution lines is nearly 40 years old. OSHA has developed a revision of this standard.
- Consensus Standard Update — Signage (April 2013): OSHA would update references to consensus standards involving certain types of safety signage but would grandfather signs conforming to the current standard.
- Cooperative Agreements (April 2013): OSHA proposes to revise its regulations for the federally funded On-site Consultation Program to allow inspections resulting from referrals at sites undergoing Consultation visits and at sites that have been awarded Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) status.
- Vertical Tandem Lifts (May 2013): In 2011, a United States Court of Appeals remanded two provisions of the VTL final rule: the inspection requirement with respect to ship-to-shore VTLs and the total ban on platform container VTLs. The court said there was insufficient evidence that complying with those two provisions was technologically feasible. OSHA is reopening the record to assess the technological feasibility of those two provisions.
- Confined Spaces in Construction (July 2013): In 1993, OSHA issued a rule to protect employees in general industry who enter confined spaces. The standard wasn’t extended to cover employees in construction because of unique characteristics of construction work sites. Discussions with the United Steel Workers of America that led to a settlement agreement regarding the general industry standard: OSHA agreed to issue a proposed rule to protect construction workers in confined spaces.
- Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems (Slips, Trips, and Fall Prevention) (August 2013): New technologies and procedures have become available to protect employees from these hazards. OSHA has been working to update these rules to reflect current technology.
Additional proposals that could become final rules this year involve three standards for whistleblower enforcement and one for how employers are classified for recordkeeping requirements.
More proposed regulations that will require more time to be completed but are in the pipelines include:
- Injury and Illness Prevention Program: OSHA is developing a rule requiring employers to implement an I2P2. It involves planning, implementing, evaluating, and improving processes and activities that protect employee safety and health. OSHA predicts it will have a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) ready in December 2013.
- Review/Lookback of OSHA Chemical Standards: The majority of OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) were adopted in 1971, and only a few have been successfully updated since then. OSHA is developing a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input from the public to help OSHA identify effective ways to address occupational exposure to chemicals. OSHA expects to issue the RFI in May 2013.
- Silica: The current OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica for general industry is based on a formula proposed by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) in 1968 (PEL=10mg/cubic meter/(% silica + 2), as respirable dust). The current PEL for construction and shipyards (derived from ACGIH’s 1970 Threshold Limit Value) is based on particle counting technology, which is considered obsolete. NIOSH and ACGIH recommend 50µg/m3 and 25µg/m3 exposure limits, respectively, for respirable crystalline silica. OSHA expects to issue an NPRM in May 2013.
- Beryllium: Similar to the silica proposal, this standard would set a PEL for beryllium. An NPRM is scheduled for July 2013.
- Bloodborne Pathogens: OSHA is reviewing this standard as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The review will consider the continued need for the rule; whether the rule overlaps, duplicates, or conflicts with other federal, state or local regulations; and the degree to which technology, economic conditions, or other factors may have changed since the rule was evaluated. OSHA expects to end this review in May 2013.
- Improve tracking of injuries and illnesses: OSHA is proposing changes to its reporting system for occupational injuries and illnesses. An updated and modernized, electronic reporting system would enable a more efficient and timely collection of data and would improve the accuracy and availability of the relevant records and statistics. OSHA has scheduled an NPRM for May 2013.
Which new or revised standards do you think will have the most impact on businesses? Let us know in the comments below.