With two years to go in the current administration, OSHA plans to create some new regulations and update some old ones.
Federal agencies just released their Fall 2014 regulatory agendas. OSHA plans to issue three final rules in 2015:
- Confined Spaces in Construction (March 2015): Although OSHA has confined space regulations for general industry, it doesn’t have rules for construction. This proposed standard would extend protections to workers in construction.
- Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems (Slips, Trips and Fall Prevention) (June 2015): This standard to protect workers from slip, trip and fall hazards has been languishing in the rulemaking process since 1990, and
- Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses (August 2015): This rule would require larger employers to submit electronic versions of their injury and illness logs and make these records public.
Some other OSHA proposals in the pipeline:
- Chemical Management and Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs): On Oct. 10, 2014, OSHA issued a request for information (RFI) on how to address outdated PELs and lack of exposure limits for some chemicals. OSHA says its RFI comment period will end April 8, 2015.
- Process Safety Management and Prevention of Major Chemical Accidents: About a year ago, OSHA issued an RFI to “identify issues related to modernization of the Process Safety Management standard and related standards necessary to meet the goal of preventing major chemical accidents.” The next step: OSHA will initiate the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) review process. That’s predicted to start in June 2015. The SBREFA panel meets with representatives of directly regulated small businesses and offers an opportunity to provide advice and recommendations on regulatory alternatives to minimize the burden on small businesses.
- Communication Towers: The fatality rate for communication tower workers is extremely high – more than ten times the rate for construction workers. Falls are the leading cause of death. OSHA plans to issue an RFI soon on proposed regulations for these workers.
- Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica: This proposed regulation would update OSHA’s current rules on silica, including establishing a stricter PEL. While this proposal is in the final rule stage, there’s some question on whether the current administration will finish the rulemaking process by January 2017. OSHA held public hearings on the proposal in 2014 and says it will finish analyzing comments from those hearings in June 2015.
- Occupational Exposure to Beryllium: OSHA expects to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to regulate occupational exposure to beryllium in January 2015.