OSHA’s 2021 fall regulatory agenda was released Dec. 10 as part of the overall plan rolled out by the White House Office of Management and Budget, with COVID-19, whistleblowing and walking-working surfaces among those in the final rule stage.
There are 28 items on OSHA’s agenda with seven in the final rule stage – two dealing with COVID-19, four regarding retaliation complaints and one on walking-working surfaces – 15 listed as “proposed” and six in the pre-rule stage.
Of the four final rules on retaliation complaints, only one can be applied to safety.
- COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard Rulemaking – This standard’s fate is currently being fought in the courts. If it’s upheld, it will require all covered employers to develop and implement a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with an exception for employers that instead adopt a policy requiring employees to elect either to get vaccinated or to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.
- Subpart U Emergency Temporary Standard COVID-19 – Some additional provisions for the healthcare-only COVID-19 emergency temporary standard are included in this final rule.
- Procedures for Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under the Whistleblower Protection Statutes – This is an update to the procedures for handling retaliation complaints under several whistleblower protection statutes. The rule would make investigation procedures more consistent among the several statutes. It’s also meant to make the process more accessible for employers and employees by providing uniform standards with regard to various procedural issues including sharing of information between parties during the investigation and OSHA’s ability to serve findings by electronic means.
- Walking-Working Surfaces – OSHA received feedback indicating several provisions of the 2016 final rule on Walking-Working Surfaces (81 FR 82494) are unclear. This rule corrects a formatting error in Table D-2 and revises the language of the requirements for stair rail systems to make them clearer and reflect OSHA’s original intent.
- Arizona State Plan for Occupational Safety and Health
- Massachusetts State and Local Government Only State Plan–Initial State Plan Approval
- Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
- Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica: Revisions to Medical Surveillance Provisions for Medical Removal Protection
- Powered Industrial Trucks Design Standard Update
- Personal Protective Equipment in Construction
- Welding in Construction Confined Spaces
- Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica; Revisions to Table 1 in the Standard for Construction
- Tree Care Standard
- Lock-Out/Tag-Out Update
- Update to the Hazard Communication Standard
- Communication Tower Safety
- Shipyard Fall Protection–Scaffolds, Ladders and Other Working Surfaces
- Amendments to the Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard
- Infectious Diseases
In pre-rule stage
- Heat Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings
- Blood Lead Level for Medical Removal
- Prevention of Workplace Violence in Health Care and Social Assistance
- Mechanical Power Presses Update
- Emergency Response
- Process Safety Management and Prevention of Major Chemical Accidents