OSHA Publishes Regulatory Agenda for Fall 2013

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has published a unified regulatory agenda for federal government departments and agencies. The Department of Labor’s regulatory agenda is on a linked page, including OSHA. There are two items of interest to readers of this blog.:

The first is the Review/Lookback of OSHA Chemical Standards (Pre-rule stage), sale 1218-AC74. This blog has frequently commented on the need to update the OSHA PELs and OSHA itself is well aware of the problem, and writes:

The majority of OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) were adopted in 1971, … and only a few have been successfully updated since that time. There is widespread agreement among industry, labor, and professional occupational safety and health organizations that occupational safety and health organizations that OSHA’s PELs are outdated and need revising in order to take into account newer scientific data that indicates that significant occupational health risks exist at levels below OSHA’s current PELs. … Recently, OSHA sought input through a stakeholder meeting and web forum to discuss various approaches that might be used to address its outdated PELs. As part of the Department’s Regulatory Review and Lookback Efforts, OSHA is developing a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input from the public to help the Agency identify effective ways to address occupational exposure to chemicals.

It is still early days in the process and the wheels of government turn slowly, especially in a small agency like OSHA with limited resources and a large workplace to protect. Essentially the same proposal was made in the Fall of 2011 and again in the spring of 2013 with little progress so far; but we remain hopeful that OSHA will be able to issue modern standards in the not too distant future.

The second item is the Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements–NAICS Update and Reporting Revisions (Final rule stage). 1218-AC50 which has already been discussed in this blog.