From a post on the web site of Mercer ORC Consulting Networks: “OSHA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Sept. 3 to revise regulations covering the agency's On-site Consultation Program. The changes will give the agency greater ability to inspect worksites that are undergoing an on-site consultation visit as well as those that are granted Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) status.”

Mercer recent acquired the ORC Worldwide consultancy and its Washington D.C.-based branch specializing in EHS issues - ORC Worldwide Networks. The ORC EHS consulting staff remains intact.

Under current Sec. 1908.7(b)(4)(iii), worksites granted SHARP or pre-SHARP status are deleted from programmed inspection lists and are eligible for non-programmed inspections under three conditions: imminent danger, fatality/catastrophe, and formal complaints. OSHA is proposing to add two additional categories that would allow it to inspect these worksites:

  • Other critical inspections as determined by the Assistant Secretary;
  • Referrals, or allegations of potential workplace hazards from state or local health departments, media, and other sources.

In its proposal, OSHA explains that “other critical inspections” might include workplace accidents that “generate widespread public concern about a particular hazard or substance.” As part of a national response to these hazards, OSHA may need to conduct programmed inspections of all sites within a specific industry. The proposal adds that to ensure this “exception is applied only in exceptional circumstances,” such investigations must be approved by the Assistant Secretary.

OSHA is also proposing to cut down the existing initial exemption from programmed inspections of up to two years with an extension of up to three years for employers who have achieved SHARP status to just one year with an extension of up to another year.

Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted by November 2, 2010. Individuals may submit comments at, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments may also be submitted by mail or hand delivery to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket Number OSHA-2010-0010, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. Submissions not longer than 10 pages may be faxed to the OSHA Docket Office at 202-693-1648.