In late January, the United States Department of Labor’s OSHA withdrew two controversial proposals: (1) the proposed interpretation on occupational noise, and (2) the proposed column for work-related musculoskeletal disorders on the Form 300.

On January 19, 2011, OSHA announced that it was withdrawing its proposed interpretation on occupational noise. The agency stated that “[h]earing loss caused by excessive noise levels remains a serious occupational health problem in this country.” OSHA, however, also acknowledged that there was wide-spread concern about the proposal because of costs associated with improving hearing protection. OSHA decided to suspend work on this proposal while it studies “other approaches to abating workplace noise hazards.”

On January 25, 2011, OSHA announced that it was temporarily withdrawing its proposal to restore a column for work-related musculoskeletal disorder on employer injury and illness logs. OSHA took this action to seek greater input from small businesses. Small businesses had expressed concern that this new recordkeeping requirement would be a burden to employers, where they claimed that musculoskeletal disorders are not well understood by employers or the medical profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 28 percent of all reported workplace injuries and illnesses requiring time away from work in 2009. OSHA implemented the temporary withdrawal to facilitate “an active dialogue between the agency and the small business community.”