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OSHA Holds Public Web Chat on Regulatory Agenda

Sigel_Gabrielle_COLORBy Gabrielle Sigel


On January 5, 2011, at 2:30 p.m. EST, OSHA will host a live web chat to discuss its semi-annual regulatory agenda and annual plan, which were published in the Federal Register on December 20, 2010.  Members of the public are entitled to join the webcast.  These documents describe OSHA's regulatory priorities for the  next 6-12 months.

The Department of Labor's statement of regulatory priorities for OSHA include issuing a proposed rule for a new Injury and Illness Prevention Program, requiring employers to have in place a management  system for promoting workplace safety.  OSHA has already held stakeholder meetings across the country on this topic.  OSHA does not, however, expect that a proposed rule will be issued within the next 6 months, as it is not intending to initiate the required Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act review until June 2011.

OSHA also is considering in the next 12 months whether to issue regulations to address exposure to infectious diseases by those working in the health care industry.   OSHA's plan also includes addressing exposure to crystalline silica thought a new  health standard, which would apply to all industry sectors.  OSHA's goal is to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking by April 2011. With respect to the construction industry, OSHA intends to develop a proposed standard addressing safety during driving construction vehicles and equipment in a backing direction.  Both the silica and the vehicle safety issues also will be addressed in separate regulation by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Addressing documentation requirements, OSHA states that by February 2011 it will issue a final rule requiring employers to separately designate  musculoskeletal disorders on their workplace injury and illness logs.  In addition, OSHA intends to issue a proposed rule requiring employers to electronically submit to OSHA the injury and illnesses information currently required to be maintained by employers under 29 CFR Part 1904, as well as other demographic information which employers may keep voluntarily.  Under OSHA's current plan, this proposed rule would be issued by September 2011.  On a separate documentation-related issue, OSHA would like to finalize a modification to its Hazard Communication standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200, to make the information on chemical Material Safety Data Sheets and on chemical labels consistent with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.  OSHA states that these changes also will enhance communication of chemical hazards to those who have low literacy or do not speak English as their first language.  OSHA plans to issue these new requirements in a final rule by August 2011.