Today's News

OSHA's reg agenda notable for what's missing (12/8)

December 8, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

Acting OSHA boss Jordan Barab said yesterday the focus on the agency’s updated regulatory agenda, released yesterday, is on taking care of rulemaking initiatives that are old and in the way, causing gridlock and preventing OSHA from beginning to track bigger and more controversial regulatory game.

This strategy makes senses both administratively and politically. Agenda items such as crane and derrick safety; exposures to silica, beryllium, and methyline chloride; walking/working surfaces; and electrical power transmission safety have stagnated in the standards-setting office for years and must be dealt with.

Taking care of this kind of administrative housekeeping also gives the new OSHA chief, Dr. David Michaels, and his leadership team breathing room to carefully consider how to address politically hot issues such as ergonomics, updating hundreds of permissible exposure limits (PELs), and setting basic mandates for workplace injury and illness prevention programs.

Both Barab and his boss, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, repeatedly asserted in live chat webinars yesterday that OSHA has not current plans for having another go at setting an ergo standard. This is a retreat from Barab’s bold comment made earlier this year at the American Society of Safety Engineers’ meeting that it’s time for OSHA to pick up the political football that is ergonomics and run with it, resistance be damned.

Meanwhile, there was no mention on the reg agenda of workplace injury and illness prevention program requirements, one of Dr. Michaels’s stated priorities for OSHA. It’s simply too early in the Obama era at OSHA to take on that comprehensive issue, sure to impact small businesses and cause a political firestorm.

The same goes for updating the PELs. “While the agency has not made a determination about how to proceed at this time, we continue to look at strategies that protect workers from chemical hazards,” was as close as Barab came yesterday to touching the legal complications of justifying new PELs.

“These are very important and complex issues,” said Barab, referring to ergonomics, injury/illness prevention plans, and updating PELs. And he left it at that.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

12/11/14 11:00 am EST

Why Flame Resistant Workwear? Understanding Workplace Hazards and OSHA Compliance

By defining the leading causes of flash fires, electric arc and molten metal splatter, we will address the ways in which companies can better protect their employees from such hazards through proper staff outfitting. In the topic, we will discuss the benefits of – and recent developments to – flame-resistant workwear and what to consider when creating a program for your employees.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN1214_cover.jpg

2014 December

Check out ISHN's last issue of the year, which features articles about distance learning, foot protection and confined space.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - SEPTEMBER 2014

ISHN FDO SEPTEMBER 2014For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THE SEPTEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.