4 new/revised OSHA regs in first 4 months of 2016?

Time is running out for OSHA under the Obama administration to complete some of its regulatory priorities. If OSHA stays on track, some new and revised regs could debut early in 2016. 

OSHA’s fall regulatory agenda lists potential new Final Rules in these areas:

  • Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica (February 2016): Under the proposal, workers’ exposures would be limited to a new permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air (µg/m3). The current PEL is 100 µg/m3 for general industry.
  • Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems (Slips, Trips, and Fall Prevention) (April 2016): In its Spring 2015 Regulatory Agenda, OSHA said this rule would be released in August 2015. It’s now been pushed back another eight months. It’s been languishing in the rulemaking process since 1990.
  • Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses (March 2016): This rule would require larger employers to submit electronic versions of their injury and illness logs. OSHA would make parts of these records public on the Internet. In a poll Safety News Alert conducted this fall, less than half of safety pros who responded favored the proposal.
  • Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards – Eye and Face Protection(March 2016): In the 40 years since these standards were adopted by OSHA, the organizations responsible for these consensus standards have issued updated versions. However, in most cases, OSHA has not revised its regulations to reflect later editions of the consensus standards.

Among other OSHA regulatory changes in the pipeline:

  • Occupational Exposure to Beryllium: Despite being petitioned to update this regulation in 1999, OSHA still doesn’t have a proposed date to complete the update.
  • Bloodborne Pathogens: OSHA is reviewing the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The review will consider the continued need for the rule; whether the rule overlaps, duplicates, or conflicts with other Federal, State or local regulations; and the degree to which technology, economic conditions, or other factors may have changed since the rule was evaluated.
  • Chemical Management and Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs): OSHA expects to complete its analysis of comments in April 2016 to this proposal to update PELs for hazardous chemicals.