Beryllium standard moves to final rule stage on fall regulatory agenda
OSHA’s final rule on occupational exposure to beryllium is scheduled for publication in January, according to the Department of Labor’s fall regulatory agenda, released Nov. 17.
The semiannual agenda is the final agenda under the Obama administration. It lists projected dates and steps for all OSHA regulatory actions, although such deadlines frequently are missed.
OSHA administrator David Michaels told Safety+Health in May that he was “personally very committed” to issuing a beryllium rule. “When I was at the Energy Department, I issued a final rule that is 10 times stronger than the OSHA standard, currently,” Michaels said “It will be a big challenge 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.”
Also listed as being in the “final rule stage,” and slated for publication in November, is a rule – proposed in July 2015 – intended to clarify that employers have an “ongoing obligation” to maintain records for the year in which an injury or illness became recordable. This includes entering every recordable case on their injury log, and updating that log to include cases not previously recorded. These obligations remain for the five years employers are required to keep and maintain the records.
The rule was proposed in response to a 2012 case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that OSHA citations for recordkeeping violations must be issued within six months of an alleged failure to record the injury or illness. The ruling overturned OSHA’s stance that the agency had five-and-a-half years to issue such a citation – five years covering the time period in which the injury’s record must be maintained, plus a six-month statute of limitations.
The agenda lists 10 items as being in the “proposed rule stage.” Among them is pending approval of Puerto Rico as a State Plan state. The other proposed rules, and their projected publication dates, are:
- Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Exemption Expansions for Railroad Roadway Work (proposed rule and direct final rule in December 2016)
- Technical Corrections to 16 OSHA Standards (proposed rule and direct final rule in January 2017)
- Amendments to the Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard (February 2017)
- Crane Operator Qualification in Construction (February 2017)
- Quantitative Fit Testing Protocol: Amendment to the Final Rule on Respiratory Protection (analysis of comments in June 2017)
- Standards Improvement Project IV (analysis of comments in June 2017)
- Infectious Diseases (October 2017)
- Tree Care Standard (October 2017)
- Update to the Hazard Communication Standard (October 2017)
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