Federal agencies

Fall 2019 regulatory agenda: Few changes for OSHA, MSHA

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2019 Fall Agenda

Washington — The Department of Labor’s regulatory agenda for Fall 2019 – released Nov. 20 – shows only a handful of changes for OSHA, and even fewer for the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The agenda, issued by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs twice a year, gives the status of and projected dates for all potential regulations listed in three stages: pre-rule, proposed rule and final rule.

OSHA has four regulations listed in the final rule stage, three of which are holdovers from the spring agenda:

The lone OSHA regulation added to the final rule stage is Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Exemption Expansions for Railroad Roadway Work, which stems from a September 2014 settlement between OSHA and the Association of American Railroads.

“The settlement agreement requires OSHA to propose a rule to expand exemptions affecting railroad roadway work by providing an additional exemption from the crane standard for a particular class of track maintenance hoisting equipment and partial exemptions from, or alternate work practices in lieu of, particular requirements of the cranes standard,” the abstract of the regulatory agenda entry states.

The agency is expected to issue this final rule in May.

Two OSHA regulations were completed since the previous regulatory agenda:

A rule on communication tower safety has moved to the proposed rule stage from the pre-rule stage. It was cleared by a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel in October 2018. A notice of proposed rulemaking could be issued in September.

A pair of OSHA regulations have been added to the list of standards in the proposed rule stage. One seeks to update the Safety Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks. The agency currently is using ANSI’s 1969 safety standard. An NPRM could be issued as early as January.

Regarding the other, OSHA is seeking to clarify regulatory language in its 2016 final rule on walking-working surfaces. The agency could issue an NPRM by April.

Meanwhile, OSHA has withdrawn final approval for a State Plan for Puerto Rico because of an “uncertain timeline in meeting the statutory and regulatory criteria for final approval.”

 

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has only one final rule listed on the agenda. The regulation addresses refuge alternatives for underground coal mines and is a long-term holdover from previous agendas.

An agency rule concerning diesel exhaust exposure in underground mines has moved to the pre-rule stage from long-term actions. MSHA also has moved a retrospective study of its respirable coal mine dust rule into long-term actions, meaning the agency does not plan to take any action on the potential regulation over the next 12 months.

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