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OSHA unveils first reg agenda of Obama regime (12/8)

December 8, 2009
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Elvis Presley’s trademark motto, “Taking Care of Business,” is an apt theme for OSHA’s most recent regulatory agenda update, announced yesterday by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

The focus is on cleaning out the standards-setting pipeline clogged for years with neglected rules.

Here’s what’s on tap:

OSHA plans to issue a final updated rule on crane and derrick safety in July 2010. The existing rule dates back to 1971.

An analysis of comments relating to a proposed rule on confined spaces in construction will be completed by March 2010. A small business impact report on a possible standard was published in 2003.

A final rule on electric power transmission and distribution, and electrical protective equipment, will be issued in September 2010. A small business impact report was published in 2003, and a proposed rule in 2005.

A review of comments considering the need for a standard on methylene chloride will be finished in April, 2010. The review began in 2006.

A peer review of the health effects and a risk assessment relating to beryllium exposures will commence in March, 2010. A request for information was issued in 2002.

A similar peer review and risk assessment process will begin to study diacetyl, a major component in artificial butter flavoring will get underway in October, 2010.

A proposed rule covering walking/working surfaces will be issued in March 2010.

Proposed revisions to the hazard communication standard to make it consistent with the United Nation’s Global Harmonization System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals will be the subject of hearings scheduled for March 2010.

Stakeholder meetings to consider how to regulate combustible dust hazards are scheduled to begin in December, 2009.

A proposal to regulate crystalline silica exposures is slated for July 2010.

What’s new on the calendar?

In March 2010, OSHA intends to publish a Request for Information to help examine how to improve worker protection from exposure to airborne diseases, such as tuberculosis, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and influenza.

OSHA is proposing to revise its regulation on Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (Recordkeeping) to restore a column on the OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Log that employers will check when recording work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The MSD column was removed from the OSHA 300 Log in 2003. The agency will issue a proposed rule in January 2010.

Comments will be solicited starting in April, 2010 on the continued need for and relevancy of the bloodborne pathogens standard.

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