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What’s on OSHA’s drawing board? (7/14)

July 14, 2011
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On July 7, 2011, the Department of Labor's Spring 2011 Semiannual Regulatory Agenda was published in the Federal Register at 76 FR 40086, writes James Nash in a post on the Mercer (formerly ORC) EHS consultancy website. 

OSHA hosted a webchat to discuss its latest regulatory agenda on July 11.  For a transcript of the webchat go to

OSHA offered relatively few surprises in its current rulemaking lineup, says Nash.

There were no changes at all in the official timetable of OSHA’s top rulemaking priority: Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. The new agenda, like its predecessor, calls for the initiation of the Small Business Regulatory Fairness Act (SBREFA) process in June. OSHA had already missed this deadline when the recent agenda was released, however. 

A final rule aligning the agency’s Hazard Communication Standard with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) is scheduled to be issued in September; the previous agenda called for a final rule by August.

The schedule for OSHA’s controversial proposal to add a column for the reporting of musculoskeletal disorders to its 300 Log has shifted significantly, writes Nash. The previous regulatory agenda, released in November 2010, predicted final action on this revision to the recordkeeping standard by February 2011. In the intervening period the agency decided to hold a small business stakeholder meeting and allowed a limited reopening of the rulemaking record. The new agenda states that this record is to be analyzed in July and offers no information about when, if ever, the column will be added to the 300 Log.

According to Nash, other noteworthy developments contained in the most recent regulatory agenda include:

  • Combustible Dust – SBREFA has been pushed back eight months to December 2011;
  • Silica – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, previously scheduled for April, was supposed to have occurred by June, hearings are to be held in October;
  • Slips, Trips and Falls – comments from the January informal hearing are to be analyzed by August;
  • Electric Power Transmission and Distribution – issuance of a final rule has been postponed from May to September.

For further information about OSHA’s regulatory agenda, go to

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