A year ago, OSHA officials were touting 2000 as a big year, with final standards coming out on recordkeeping and ergonomics, and proposed rules issued for safety and health program requirements.

That was then, this is now.

Recordkeeping: The revised injury and illness recordkeeping rule was slated to be issued by July 1, 2000, in order to go into effect January 1, 2001. But as late May, revisions were still being studied at the Department of Labor and had yet to undergo review by the Office of Management and Budget. That makes meeting the July 1 deadline very tight, if not impossible, according to one source familiar with the process interviewed by Industrial Safety & Hygiene News.

Safety and health programs: Meanwhile, the safety and health program rule, once promoted by OSHA as the centerpiece of its standards-setting agenda, now sits in limbo. Almost all available agency resources are being poured into the ergo standard effort. OSHA’s latest regulatory calendar gives no dates for the next action to be taken on safety and health program requirements.

Ergonomics: Hearings on the ergo standard wrapped up in early May, and sources say OSHA is determined to issue final requirements by the end of the year. “(OSHA chief) Charles (Jeffress) is absolutely committed to making it happen,” says one source. “He’s seized on ergonomics as a measure of his success, and he’s one stubborn guy.”

But Jeffress can only push so hard in an election year. Another Washington source says the White House has bluntly told OSHA to forget about issuing any standards before November.

A spate of rules could come out after the election, especially if Republicans gain control of the White House. In addition to recordkeeping and ergonomics, you could also see final rules on tuberculosis protection in the workplace, steel erection safety, and requirements for when employers must pay for PPE.