OSHA Priorities for 2013 Outlined in Department of Labor’s Regulatory Agenda

On Friday, December 21, the Regulatory Information Service Center released the U.S. Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan. The plan, released semiannually, includes the regulatory activities happening throughout the Federal Government. OSHA, as part of the Department of Labor, is included in the agenda release, and its Fall Statement of Regulatory Priorities spotlights several initiatives OSHA has been talking about in the last the year.

OSHA states, “In addition to targeting specific hazards, OSHA is focusing on systematic processes that will modernize the culture of safety in America's workplaces and retrospective review projects that will update regulations and reduce burdens on regulated communities. OSHA's retrospective review projects under E.O.13563 include consideration of the Bloodborne Pathogens standard, updating consensus standards, phase IV of OSHA's standard improvement project (SIP IV), and reviewing various permissible exposure levels.”

Areas of emphasis include:

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Injury and illness Prevention Program (I2P2)
  • Modernizing Recordkeeping
  • Whistleblower Protection Regulations
  • Silica
  • Preventing Backover Injuries and Fatalities
  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Revision to Digger Derricks' Requirements
  • Review-Lookback of OSHA Chemical Standards (PELs)
  • Confined Spaces in Construction

Regarding I2P2, OSHA says the proposed rule “will explore requiring employers to provide their employees with opportunities to participate in the development and implementation of an injury and illness prevention program, including a systematic process to proactively and continuously address workplace safety and health hazards. This rule will involve planning, implementing, evaluating, and improving processes and activities that promote worker safety and health hazards.”

On Modernizing Recordkeeping, OSHA states, “Under the proposed rule, OSHA will explore requiring employers to electronically submit to the Agency data required by part 1904 (Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries). The proposed rule will enable OSHA to conduct data collections ranging from the periodic collection of all part 1904 data from a handful of employers to the annual collection of summary data from many employers.”

Finally, echoing statements made this summer regarding the updating of Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), OSHA says the next step will be to develop “a Request for Information (RFI), seeking input from the public to help the Agency identify effective ways to address occupational exposure to chemicals.”

A complete agency rule list can be found on Reginfo.gov. The Environmental Protection Agency was also included in the agenda release and their information can be found here: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/jsp/eAgenda/StaticContent/201210/Statement_2000.html