In the OSHA budget justification the agency laid out some of its plans for 2015: Inspections – OSHA announced the agency will conduct more health and safety inspections in 2015, with most of the increase occurring in health inspections. OSHA says the reason for this is that health issues are being identified as increasing.
Final Rules – OSHA predicts that during 2015 it will issue final rules for walking-working surfaces, recordkeeping modernization, the fourth phase of the Standards Improvement Project and crane operator certification. That’s a pretty aggressive agenda seeing that the agency is so heavily involved in silica and has I2P2 still on the table.
Proposed Rulemaking – OSHA announced the agency will also release four notices of proposed rulemaking in 2015 – combustible dust, infectious diseases, preventing accidents caused by vehicles backing up and amending recordkeeping regs to clarify the duty to maintain accurate records. Again, a pretty aggressive agenda. While the agency wants to hold a small business regulatory fairness act hearing on combustible dust the odds are probably no better than 50-50 that this will occur.
Recordkeeping Proposal– Speaking of recordkeeping, the OSHA proposal to move to electronic reporting, online posting of injury and illness data, etc. has encountered some serious opposition. Several members of Congress have come out in opposition to the program and there are some who are even calling for OSHA to pull the proposal. There are numerous concerns from business advocates, including the issue of privacy.
Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) – A big letdown for supporters of this proposal. OSHA has publicly stated that it has no dates for action on the proposal. This used to be the number one priority of Dr. David Michaels but the proposal has run into all kinds of problems. Some say a draft is available within the agency but no one claims to have seen it.
Process Safety Management– The comment period has ended on this request for information proposal (RFI) for information on potential revisions to the Process Safety Management standard. This RFI was in response to the chemical explosion in West, Texas and seeks to improve chemical facility safety and security.
Beryllium – Pressure continues to build for the agency to send a beryllium proposal to OMB for review. This issue seems to be gaining ground.
Bloodborne Pathogens– There is also pressure on OSHA to decide what to do with the bloodborne pathogen issue. Some say the agency may make a move on this issue in May.
Temporary Workers– OSHA has released a new educational bulletin on injury-recording requirements to help protect temporary workers. The initiative is an effort that uses enforcement, outreach and training to assure that temporary workers are protected in their workplaces.
Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs)– Still waiting to see if OSHA moves forward on an earlier discussion to ask stakeholders for more information on how to go about updating the PELs. While nothing has happened as yet, just the fact that OSHA has been discussing is a step forward.