OSHA has released its regulatory agenda featuring 10 proposals the agency describes as being in the final-rule stage.
OSHA said it plans to issue final rules on confined spaces in construction in March, 2015; slips, trips and fall protection in June; and improved tracking of injuries and illnesses in August. However, based on its record, the agency may not meet these deadlines. — It had proposed in its last regulatory agenda releasing the confined space and slips, trips and fall protection rules this year and the injury/illness tracking rule in March 2015. The confined space regulation was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review in November.
OSHA also said it would release final rules to update its regulation dealing with state plans and to improve the efficiency with which the agency accesses employee medical records under 29 CFR 1913.10. Whistleblower rules pertaining to nine federal statutes also will be finalized between this month and next June, OSHA said.
Another nine OSHA initiatives are in the proposed rule stage. A clarification of an employer's continuing obligation to make and maintain accurate records of recordable injuries and illnesses under 29 CFR 1904 is behind schedule. A proposal to update OSHA standards based on national consensus standards for eye and face protection is scheduled to be released in December. Likewise, the fourth update of existing standards under its long-running Standards Improvement Project is scheduled for this month. The primary focus of the latest update is on paperwork requirements in construction standards under 29 CFR 1926.
A proposed amendment to OSHA’s cranes and derricks in construction standard is expected in January, along with a proposed rule on beryllium. OSHA’s beryllium proposal was sent to OMB in September. March is the scheduled release date for proposals to amend the quantitative fit testing protocol in OSHA’s final respiratory protection rule and for crane operator certification in construction.
The agency said it would complete analysis in June of comments received on its controversial crystalline silica rule. No date for release of a final rule was provided. OSHA received more than 1,700 comments from the public on the proposed rule, which was issued in September 2013. Additionally, more than 200 provided testimony during a public hearing on the proposal earlier this year.
Finally, the agency listed seven items in the pre-rule stage. A decision on a statutorily mandated review of its bloodborne pathogens rule is due out in May. Review by a panel considering alternatives for infectious disease control and convened under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) is set to end this month. Review by a second SBREFA panel of issues associated with process safety management/prevention of major chemical accidents will end in June, OSHA said. The agency issued a request for information (RFI) on the subject a year ago.
OSHA also plans to complete review in April 2015 of information received in response to the October 2014 release of an RFI dealing with chemical management and permissible exposure limits. The agency also plans RFIs in the coming months on communications towers and shipyard fall protection.
OSHA’s National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health will hold a workshop on emergency response and preparedness in April, OSHA said. Stakeholder meetings on the topic were held last July