OSHA head Dr. David Michaels

Like many others, I have been closely following OSHA’s plan to implement an injury and illness prevention rule (I2P2). OSHA Administrator David Michaels has publicly stated on numerous occasions that this rule is his number one priority. The plan is for a June target to initiate a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act panel review for the draft rule. After that, who knows how long it might take for an actual proposal to be proposed, let alone considerable time needed for public input, reviews, etc. But herein lies a problem with me – not so much with the rule, because there isn’t a rule to yet review. The problem is with those who are opposed to the “rule” because it “doesn’t go far enough or it goes too far.”

How in the heck can you oppose something that has yet to be written? Yes, there are “certain elements” that will be included in the proposed rule, but no one knows for sure what might or not be included. There isn’t even any word on whether OSHA’s rule will require states that already have I2P2 rules to amend their own regulations.

When we look back at the 40 years of OSHA, one of the things everyone complains about is that the regulatory process takes too long. Yes it does! But part of the problem is that there are way too many out there who want to oppose everything, thereby prolonging the process. They seem to think if they can delay everything and anything that this is what is best for workers. Well, how about these same people giving OSHA a chance to propose something before they decide they are against it?

The proposed rule will undoubtedly have to be reviewed by many, including AIHA. And I’m sure AIHA will have numerous recommendations for the proposed rule. But those who might already be planning “possible lawsuits” to stop the rule or even the proposed rule need to take a break! Let’s give the agency a chance to propose something that might just work.

And to the agency I also say – “Don’t get carried away with this proposal!” Propose something that goes far enough – but not too far. Who knows, perhaps everyone can agree. I doubt it, but it just might be worth a shot!