OMB goes back to work

Following months of what seemed like inaction, the Office of Management and Budget recently completed a review of an OSHA standard, allowing the agency to move forward with the rule. But don’t expect a flood of new OSHA regulations.

The Standards Improvement Project IV cleared OMB – through its Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs – on Nov. 21. Essentially, this rule updates a number of construction standards by making language in the rules more consistent and streamlined. It is the fourth such rule put forth by OSHA as part of an effort to reduce employer costs and paperwork burden.

OMB had this rule under review for exactly 90 days, which is supposed to be the maximum length of time allowed. However, recent reviews of numerous rules have exceeded the 90-day limit.

Silica has been under review for nearly two years; an update to modernize OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements recently celebrated its one-year anniversary under OMB review; and an electrical power final rule is now two months past the typical review period.

Even though SIP IV has cleared OMB, I have my doubts that the others will rapidly follow suit. For starters, SIP standards are relatively non-controversial – likely because they ease burdens on employers by eliminating duplicative or unnecessary requirements.

But the other standards currently under review? They have received a bit more pushback from some stakeholders, especially silica.

It’s good to see OMB moving forward in the review process, and I hope it continues. But given the politics on Capitol Hill and severe pushback against 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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