Within the last month, OSHA has received pressure from two sources to enact three new regulations. The pressure is coming from …
… two groups within the federal government.
At its December meeting, the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) called on OSHA to adopt new regulations for respirable crystalline silica, and injury and illness prevention programs (I2P2).
In a letter to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, NACOSH called on OSHA to update its permissible exposure limit for silica. Exposure to silica can cause lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.
Regarding the silica regulation, the letter states:
“NACOSH is deeply distressed that the proposed silica standard has been held by OMB (the Office of Management and Budget) for more than 10 months, far longer than the 4.5 month review period provided for”
NACOSH sent a similar message about the apparent slow pace of enacting the I2P2 proposal:
“NACOSH continues to be concerned and disappointed that the June/July 2011 timeline for initiation of the [small business review] process … has not been met”
Another government group is also calling on OSHA to move faster.
Last week, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) recommended OSHA enact a combustible dust standard within one year.
“Dust fires and explosions continue to claim lives and destroy property in many industries,” said CSB Chairman Rafael Moure Eraso. “More must be done to control this hazard.”
The CSB included its call for quick action on a combustible dust standard in its final report on three fires and explosions at the Hoeganaes powdered metals plant in Gallatin, TN, in 2011 that killed five workers and injured three others.
One of the hot topics of debate in this election year is over government regulations and whether they negatively impact the economy and creation of new jobs.
During the G.W. Bush administration, OSHA enacted only two new regulations. So far in President Obama’s term in office, only two more have gone on the books. So that’s four new OSHA regulations in 11 years.
There’s no doubt that exposure to respirable silica causes fatal diseases. Accumulation of combustible dust in workplaces causes fires and explosions.
Do you think OSHA should push ahead with creating these two new regulations this year, even in the face of mounting complaints about “too much government regulation?” Let us know what you think in the comments below.