OSHA has decided to extend its general industry standard on respiratory protection to workers exposed to tuberculosis, in place of writing a separate standard to protect workers in health clinics and other settings exposed to tuberculosis. OSHA formally announced in late December its decision to withdraw a 1997 proposed standard on TB. Why? The agency cites a 40-percent drop in the number of TB cases in the U.S. during the past ten years.

In addition, rulemaking initiated in 1993 to reduce permissible exposure limits on glycol ethers has been abandoned by OSHA. Officials cite a decline in both their production and use. The substances, which pose reproductive health risks, were once commonly used in the automobile refinishing industry, and in construction paints, printings inks, and the semiconductor industry. They are now mainly used in closed systems where employees have little opportunity for exposure, according to the agency.