Construction Beryllium Federal agencies Slips, trips and falls

‘Big impact’: OSHA aims to issue final rule on walking/working surfaces in August

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Washington – OSHA’s final rule on preventing slips, trips and falls is scheduled for publication in August, according to the spring regulatory agenda released May 18.

The agenda lists projected dates and steps for all OSHA regulatory actions, and those dates frequently are missed. However, the agency has targeted the final rule on Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems as a priority before President Barack Obama leaves office.

“Walking working surfaces and fall protection – general industry will have a big impact. We know that,” OSHA administrator David Michaels told Safety+Health on May 12.

The proposed rule was published in 2010. It replaced a proposed rule that was released in 1990 but was later determined to be out of date based on feedback received during a comment period in 2003.

OSHA has set a publication date of October for a final rule intended to clarify for employers that “the duty to make and maintain accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses is an ongoing obligation.”

Michaels told S+H that the recordkeeping rule “addresses the question of how long an employer must keep accurate records.”

Seven OSHA rules are listed as being in the “Proposed Rule Stage.” Among them is Occupational Exposure to Beryllium, for which no projected publication date is listed.

“I am personally very committed to issuing a final rule on beryllium,” Michaels told S+H. “When I was at the energy department, I issued a final rule that is 10 times stronger than the OSHA standard, currently. It will be a big challenge for us to get this out during the Obama administration. We would like to do it, we’re committed to trying to do it, but I can’t promise that we’ll do it.”

Other actions in the “Proposed Rule Stage”:

Also of note: The agency’s Request for Information on updating OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard is under review by a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act panel. According to the agenda, the review is scheduled to wrap up in June.

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