FY 2012 budget stalls OSHA and MSHA rules

Washington – Despite slight increases to funding levels for both OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the fiscal year 2012 budget bill (H.R. 2055) restricts the agencies’ pursuit of some rulemakings.

The bill, signed into law Dec. 23, prohibits OSHA from developing a rule that would add a musculoskeletal disorder column to the OSHA 300 form. Administration officials have said the column is vital to helping OSHA and employers better understand how MSD injuries occur, but industry critics have argued the rule is confusing and costly and represents the first step toward an ergonomics standard.

The bill also delays implementation and enforcement of MSHA’s coal dust standard, a key provision in the agency’s campaign to end “black lung” disease.

The rule is delayed until the Government Accountability Office submits a report within 240 days – or when that deadline passes – on its evaluation of MSHA’s data linking occupational coal dust exposure to lung disease.

The conference committee that put the bill together also requested the Secretary of Labor to submit a report detailing the findings of OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on recordkeeping, which launched in October 2009.

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