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Happy birthday, OMB review of crystalline silica

February 13, 2012

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Whenever I write about Office of Management and Budget reviews for potential standards, I say it’s a process that “typically” takes 90 days. But that process has become anything but typical in light of OMB’s yearlong review of OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Standard.

Submitted for review Feb. 14, 2011, the rule would update OSHA’s current rules, which are based on decades-old science and are inadequate to protect workers, according to many stakeholders (.pdf file).

Celeste Monforton, a professional lecturer in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at George Washington University, has closely followed the silica rulemaking. Since a 1993 presidential order (.pdf file) has been in place requiring significant rules to undergo OMB review, Monforton told me she doesn’t know of another example of a draft proposed rule from OSHA being held this long.

“A yearlong review of a draft proposed OSHA rule is unprecedented,” said Monforton, a former Department of Labor employee who also writes on health and safety matters for The Pump Handle.

OSHA’s regulatory agenda now puts publication of the proposed rule this month. But considering how often the rule has already been delayed and the recent general slowdown of regulations, I’m not holding my breath.

The opinions expressed in "Washington Wire" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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