In October, OSHA published its regulatory agenda, listing all regulatory actions under consideration. Consistent with the current administration’s stated focus on regulatory reform, OSHA calls many of the rulemaking actions “deregulatory” and says that many are either completed or have moved into the final rule stages.
Somewhat contrary to its stated deregulatory goals, the agenda reflects a long list of issues in OSHA’s sights. It is notable that OSHA’s lack of a confirmed assistant secretary to lead it has not prevented the agency from moving forward with such a robust agenda.
The Executive Summary of the 2018 Regulatory Plan highlighted three OSHA actions that the agency says are deregulatory in nature:
- Occupational Exposure to Beryllium in the Shipyard and Construction Sectors,
- Final rule to Improve Workplace Injuries and Illness, and
- The Standards Improvement Project, SIP IV, intended to reduce or revise duplicative, unnecessary, and inconsistent safety and health standards.
OSHA’s fall 2018 regulatory agenda contains 21 regulatory actions, an increase of one more regulation than was listed in the Spring 2018 Unified Agenda. Of the twenty-one actions, nine are in the pre-rule stage, five are in the proposed rule stage, and seven are in the final rule stage.
- Occupational Exposure to Beryllium, General Industry. OSHA issued its direct final rule (DFR) effective July 6, 2018 in accordance with a settlement reached between OSHA and certain industry stakeholders. OSHA says that this DFR constitutes a deregulatory action and estimates a net annual cost savings of $.36 million per year. The DFR affirms the adoption of the new lower comprehensive general industry standard of an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) PEL of 0.2 ug/m3 and includes amendments to the definitions of beryllium work areas, emergency, dermal contact, and beryllium contamination. The purpose of the DFR is to clarify the standard’s application to processes, operations, or areas involving materials containing trace amounts of beryllium, defined as less than .1% beryllium per weight.OSHA also issued a DFR to extend select compliance dates for occupational exposure to beryllium in general industry for certain ancillary provisions. The extension from March 12, 2018 to December 12, 2018 applies only to ancillary provisions relating to methods of compliance, beryllium work areas, regulated areas, personal protective clothing and equipment, hygiene areas and practice, housekeeping, communication of hazards, and record keeping.
- Cranes and Derricks in Construction. OSHA’s extension of the crane and derrick operator certification deadline ends on November 10, 2018. The extension was originally published in the Federal Register as a final rule on November 9, 2017.
Other OSHA Regulations in Final Rule Stage
- Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. OSHA issued the NPRM on July 30, 2018. Next steps: A final rule is expected to be published in June 2019.
- Standards Improvement Project IV. Next steps: Since publication of its Spring Unified Agenda, OSHA has extended the final rule date to December 2018.
- Occupational Exposure to Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds in the Construction and Shipbuilding Sectors. Next steps: OSHA is reviewing comments on its proposal to revoke ancillary provisions for the construction and shipyard sectors while retaining the lower PEL limit and short-term exposure limit for each sector. A final rule is scheduled for June 2019. Note that OSHA will not enforce the new final rule on shipyard and construction standards published on January 9, 2017 without further notice during this new rulemaking period.
- Technical Corrections to 35 OSHA Standards and Regulations. Next steps: Final rule expected in October 2018.
- Crane Operator Qualification in Construction. Next steps, Final rule expected in November 2018.
- Rules of Agency Practice and Procedure Concerning OSHA Access to Employee Medical Records. Next Steps: Final rule expected in June 2019.
- Quantitative Fit Testing Protocol: Amendment to the Final Rule on Respiratory Protection. Next Steps: Final rule expected in December 2018.
Regulations in Proposed Rule Stage
- Amendments to the Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard. Next steps: NPRM expected in June 2019.
- Update to the Hazard Communication Standard Next steps: NPRM expected March 2019.
- Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Exemption Expansions for Railroad Roadway Work. Next Steps: Analyze comments expected December 2018.
- Puerto Rico State Plan. Next Steps: NPRM expected March 2019.
- Exposure to Beryllium NPRM to Review General Industry Provisions. Next steps: In compliance with the settlement agreement described above, NPRM expected December 2018.
Regulations in the Pre-Rule Stage
- Communication Tower Safety. Next steps: Complete SBREFA expected October 2018.
- Emergency Response and Preparedness. Next steps: Initiate SBREFA expected October 2018.
- Mechanical Power Presses Update. Next Steps: Request for Information expected December 2018.
- Powered Industrial Trucks. Next Steps: Request for Information expected October 2018.
- Lock-Out/Tag-Out Update. Next Steps: Request for Information expected October 2018.
- Tree Care Standard. Next Steps: Initiate SBREFA expected June 2019.
- Prevention of Workplace Violence in Health Care and Social Assistance. Next Steps: Initiate SBREFA expected March 2019.
- Blood Lead Level for Medical Removal. Next Steps: ANPRM expected March 2019.
- Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica: Revisions to Table 1 in the Standard for Construction. Next Steps: Request for Information expected December 2018.
Regulations Listed as Long-Term Actions
OSHA increased the number of regulations relegated to Long-Term Action status from 2 to 4. Those regulations placed on the Long-Term Action list for OSHA are:
- Infectious Diseases. Next steps: NPRM to be determined.
- Process Safety Management and Prevention of Major Chemical Accidents. Next steps: action undetermined.
- Shipyard Fall Protection-Scaffolds, Ladders, and Other Working Surfaces. Next Steps: action undetermined.
- Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements, Next Steps: action