Government rulemakingOSHA will be spending the rest of 2014 holding public hearings and reviewing the approximately 3,000 comments it has already received on its proposed crystalline silica rule.

Although OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels has stated the the silica rule – which would reduce occupational exposure limits to the substance – is the agency’s top priority, the issue is “a long, long way from every being finalized,” according to Aaron K. Trippler of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA).

The AIHA Government Affairs Director noted that just 30 days ago, “the issue was one that had many people talking about how this was the one big thing OSHA was trying to finalize in 2014.”

Now, the deluge of responses from stakeholders – which will increase with the public hearings which are scheduled to begin March 18 and run at least through April 1 – may make a 2014 finalization unrealistic.

“And you can bet the lawsuits will be flying when, if ever, a final proposal is announced,” promised Trippler.

The AIHA will be appearing and providing comments at the public hearings. Click here to read comments the association has already submitted on the proposed silica rule.

What about I2P2?

“The I2P2 used to be the number one priority of OSHA but is now so controversial there is no telling when, or if, OSHA will put out an actual proposal,” said Trippler. “OSHA states the agency is still on track to put out a proposal by the end of 2014 but that will be difficult if not impossible.”

And the status of the recordkeeping proposal?

OSHA’s effort to require electronic submission of injury and illness data – and to post the information online – is still in the comment period, which is scheduled to end March 10.

However, Trippler says opposition is continuing to build over the proposal.

“Some business leaders are concerned about the data being used in a way that would be hugely detrimental to their business, possibly even resulting in some businesses underreporting injuries and illnesses.”

Click here for more information from the AIHA Federal Government Affairs Center.