OSHA Extends Comment Period for Chemical Management and PEL

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has less than 500 permissible exposure limits (PELs) for chemicals commonly used in the workplace and over 90% of them have not been updated since the OSHA PELs were first adopted in 1971. For various reasons including the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, as interpreted by the courts, OSHA has been unable to create more than about 30 new PELs in the last four decades.

OSHA is now looking for new ways to either revise the PELs or develop an alternative system that improves worker safety and has therefore put a request for information in the Federal Register in October 2014 (docket OSHA 2012-0023). The initial comment period was until April 2015, but it has now been extended to October 9th 2015.

The 110 pages of the federal register come down to OSHA asking two questions:

  • What are some possible new approaches for streamlining risk assessment and feasibility analyses?
  • What alternative and additional new approaches for managing chemical exposures, including hazard banding, task-based approaches, and informed substitution?

If you have any ideas, submit them to docket No. OSHA-2012-0023 at http://www.regulations.gov