HR Management & Compliance

OSHA to Publish Five New Final Rules in 2011

On Wednesday, January 5, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hosted a live Q&A Web chat to answer questions about its Fall 2010 Regulatory Agenda. The assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, started the session by listing some of OSHA’s 2010 achievements. He noted that the agency:

  • published final rules/interim final rules for cranes and derricks;
  • issued two whistleblower regulations;
  • finished the final rule remand on hexavalent chromium and its review of the methylene chloride standard; and
  • published proposed rules for walking and working surfaces, its Standards Improvement Project — Phase III, and a Request for Information (RFI) on infectious diseases.

Michaels announced that OSHA is planning to publish five more final rules in 2011 and estimated when some of the rules may be published. More specifically, according to the Q&A portion of the chat, OSHA plans to publish final rules addressing hazard communication (August 2011), confined spaces in construction (November 2011), general working conditions for shipyards, and electric power transmission (May 2011). OSHA also plans to publish a proposed rule for silica this spring.

During the chat, OSHA revealed that its highest regulatory priority is the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) rule. OSHA noted that because of its limited resources, it can’t issue standards for all hazards. Therefore, it has tried to focus on regulatory activities such as the I2P2 rule that will have the greatest impact. The next step for the I2P2 rule is the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) process, which is currently scheduled for June 2011.

Additionally, OSHA noted that it:

  • has two new high-risk construction industry initiatives (backing operations and reinforcing and post-tensioned steel construction);
  • has no plans to repropose the ergonomics rule;
  • expects to add the musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) column to the Form 300 log in January 2012; and
  • plans to initiate the SBREFA process for combustible dust regulations in April 2011.

Read a transcript of the Web chat

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