With a new administration came a new approach to regulations, including those aimed at keeping workers safe and healthy. Occupational exposure issues like beryllium and silica were high profile. States and cities tackled refinery safety, healthcare workplace violence prevention and restaurant menu requirements. Here are the top regulation-related stories of 2017.

USDA to roll back health changes to school menus

November 30, 2017

Changes to school meals proposed this week by the Trump administration are getting praised by school nutritionists and slammed by health experts. Among other things, the interim final rule released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) allows schools to avoid reducing sodium levels in breakfasts and lunches – a mandate introduced by former President Barack Obama. Sodium reduction was to take place in stages through the year 2022.

A Confined Space blog post

One last time: OSHA extends recordkeeping reporting deadline

Jordan Barab

November 28, 2017

After multiple delays, OSHA has finally announced that employers who are required to keep OSHA injury and illness records must send summary information in to the agency by December 15, fifteen days after the deadline announced last June, when the agency proposed to delay the reporting deadline from July 1 to December 1.

OSHA sets crane operator certification compliance date

November 14, 2017

OSHA) last week issued a final rule setting November 10, 2018, as the date for employers in the construction industries to comply with a requirement for crane operator certification. The final rule becomes effective November 9, 2017.

Toys, teething rings soon to be safer

October 26, 2017

In what the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is calling “a major victory for public health,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted 3-2 last week, to ban several harmful phthalate chemicals from plastic used in children’s toys and child care articles. Phthalates are commonly used as a plastic softener in children’s toys and child care articles, such as teething rings.

Proposed poultry line speed up has worker, food safety implications

October 17, 2017

The poultry industry and Republican lawmakers are urging the Trump administration to make a change that could have profound implications for both worker safety and food safety.

Massachusetts public workers may get OSHA protections

October 10, 2017

The Massachusetts Senate moved a step closer yesterday to joining 26 other states in extending OSHA safety standards to public sector workers. Bill S.2167, which has yet to be voted on by the Massachusetts House, would ensure that all state and local government workers are protected by the OSHA standards, which apply only to private sector workers.

EPA to repeal Clean Power Plan to fight climate change

October 9, 2017

EPA chief Scott Pruitt announced Monday that he will sign the paperwork to repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama administration rule to combat climate change rule by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal and natural gas power plants.

FDA to delay nutrition label rule

October 2, 2017

The food industry is cheering and health experts are jeering the USDA’s announcement on Friday that it is proposing to push new nutrition label requirements back by a year and a half.

Silica rule delayed for 30 days

September 28, 2017

A move last week by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will delay enforcement of OSHA’s silica rule for the construction industry for another 30 days – to Oct. 23. The DOL said the delay was necessary because of the “dramatic” reduction in the exposure limit – from 250 to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour shift.

ACOEM Urges OSHA not to revoke ancillary provisions of beryllium rule

Group says revoking provisions for construction and shipyard sectors puts workers at risk for beryllium disease

September 7, 2017

In response to a call for comments, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) is strongly urging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to retain those portions of the proposed rule on occupational exposure to beryllium that deal with medical surveillance, medical removal, and other ancillary standards for both construction and shipyard workers.

Sleep apnea rule rollback draws fire

August 24, 2017

Occupational health experts are criticizing the U.S. Department of Transportation’s decision to withdraw a rule that would have required workers in safety sensitive jobs to be screened for a sleep disorder that could affect their work performance.

Electronic reporting portal may have been breached

August 21, 2017

Employers who attempt to access OSHA’s electronic injury and illness reporting portal are being greeted by the following message: Alert: Due to technical difficulties with the website, some pages are temporarily unavailable.

FDA may exempt “premium” cigars from regulation

July 31, 2017

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may undermine its own recently released “deeming rule” with an exception – one which has the American Heart Association (AHA) warning about loopholes.

New Nevada law mandates “Move Over” when encountering DOT workers

July 26, 2017

July marks the first time that drivers in Nevada have been required to give wide berth to Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) workers, thanks to the “Move Over” Law that took effect on July 1.

Feds consider regs to track, ID drones

July 14, 2017

Drones may be a relatively new type of aircraft, but they’re very much the focus of attention for federal rulemakers.

OSHA changes enforcement of construction cranes rule

July 6, 2017

OSHA has announced a new enforcement policy that excludes monorail hoists from the requirements of Subpart CC – Cranes and Derricks in Construction, as long as employers meet other OSHA requirements.

OSHA moves to weaken beryllium exposure rule

Changes would apply to construction, shipyard sectors

June 28, 2017

OSHA’s announcement last week of a proposal to modify the agency's recent beryllium standards for the construction and shipyard sectors is being sharply criticized by safety advocates, who are calling it “a step backwards.”

How will new work-at-height standards impact equipment manufacturers?

June 27, 2017

ANSI (United States) and CSA (Canada) standards have, for almost four decades, provided best practices for safe, reliable access to work at height and have delivered a consistent benchmark for safe machine design in North America.

Trump delays nutritional label rule

June 14, 2017

The Trump administration announced yesterday that it will delay a rule requiring changes to nutritional labels on processed foods. The reason for pushing back the July 26, 2018 compliance date: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says manufacturers need more time to enact the changes.

OSHA's silica rule confuses and concerns construction contractors

June 1, 2017

Silicosis is a lung disease common among construction workers, including lifelong bricklayers. The disease is caused by inhaling crystalline silica dust, created when drills and saws buzz into bricks, concrete, and mortar.

MSHA delaying mine exam rule

May 31, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is extending the effective date of the agency’s final rule on Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines until Oct. 2, 2017.

Cal/OSHA OKs tough new refinery safety regulation

Rule intended to reduce risk of major incidents

May 23, 2017

While regulations on the federal level are being repealed or delayed, the rulemaking process is still going strong at the state level – as demonstrated by California’s approval last week of a tough new oil refinery safety regulation.

Restaurant industry ends legal battle over NYC sodium warnings

April 28, 2017

The legal battle over New York City’s rules requiring menu warning labels for foods with high levels of sodium has ended after the restaurant industry failed to appeal to the state’s highest court.

OSHA’s beryllium rule reaches farther than many realize

Mark Mummert

April 13, 2017

OSHA’s recent decision to delay the effective date of its controversial beryllium exposure rule has generated a lot of attention in the industrial safety media, and rightly so. The beryllium rule is a perfect example of the government overreach that industry often highlights: policies made with good intentions that go beyond their stated goal.

Defiant states take on climate change challenge

April 4, 2017

President Donald Trump’s ongoing efforts to eliminate or reverse his predecessor’s efforts to combat climate change is driving the issue to a new arena: the state level.

Mine safety rule could be delayed

March 31, 2017

The U.S. Labor Department (DOL) has proposed a delay in the effective date of the final rule on Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines -- from May 23, 2017, to July 24, 2017.

New Calif. health care violence prevention rule takes effect Mon.

March 30, 2017

While regulations are being rolled back at the federal level, the state of California is implementing new ones, including a regulation aimed at protecting the state’s health care workers from on-the-job violence that takes effect on April 1, 2017.

Key provision in OSHA’s recordkeeping rule overturned

March 23, 2017

The U.S. Senate voted 50-48 this week to strike down a key provision of OSHA’s recordkeeping rule by axing the agency’s ability to cite recordkeeping violations found by inspectors that are older than 180 days. The so-called “Volks” rule that was struck down – issued in December 2016 -- gave OSHA the ability to issue citations to employers for failing to record work-related injuries and illnesses during the 5-year retention period, contrary to the six-month statute of limitations.

Construction industry ready to battle as safety bills hit NYC council floor

March 6, 2017

Unions, open-shop builders and developers are expected to clash as New York City’s Housing and Buildings Committee of the City Council will hear 21 bills related to construction safety. The bills would increase penalties for certain violations, require site-safety plans at buildings four stories and higher and—most controversially—mandate worker training programs.

Reg Reform Hotwire

Congress moves to overturn nearly 4,000 regs

February 23, 2017

Workplace safety and health regulations would be among those affected by a sweeping measure making its way through Congress that would enable lawmakers to overturn any and all regulations passed during the final year of a President’s term.

Hundreds of business groups urge Senate to pass Regulatory Accountability Act

February 13, 2017

More than 616 business groups recently signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) urging them to use their positions to pass the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 (RAA). The RAA recently passed the House with a vote of 238-183. The Senate has failed to pass RAA on three previous occasions after House passage. Democrats hold enough seats in the Senate to filibuster the bill.

OSHA standards: to repeal or not to repeal

That is one of the questions we asked ISHN readers

February 10, 2017

Will OSHA change under the Trump administration? (Should OSHA change under the Trump administration?) Should some standards be repealed? Will funding for the agency’s enforcement and voluntary protection programs decrease? Increase? Should OSHA be abolished and its duties handled by state agencies?

ISHN survey: Most OSH pros don't approve of regulatory freeze

February 1, 2017

The majority of occupational safety and health professionals who responded to a survey in last week’s enewsletter about President Trump’s regulatory freeze were in favor of having the newly-issued beryllium standard in effect. Opinions differed on other regulatory issues. When asked what occupational safety and health hazards, if any, should be covered by new regulations, PEL updates were mentioned most.

Trump’s Executive Order on reducing regulations

February 1, 2017

Source: Office of the Press Secretary By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, as amended (31 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), section 1105 of title 31, United States Code, and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Congress, FAA ease medical requirements for GA pilots

January 13, 2017

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a final rule (PDF) that allows general aviation pilots to fly without holding an FAA medical certificate as long as they meet certain requirements outlined in Congressional legislation. “The United States has the world’s most robust general aviation community, and we’re committed to continuing to make it safer and more efficient to become a private pilot,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

OSHA wants to amend respiratory protection standard

Makes bid to add two more fit-testing protocols

January 10, 2017

OSHA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to add two quantitative fit-testing protocols to the agency's Respiratory Protection Standard. The protocols would apply to employers in the general, shipyard and construction industries. Appendix A of the standard contains mandatory respirator fit-testing methods that employers must use to ensure their employees' respirators fit properly and protect the wearer.