OSHA to pursue high-priority items

OSHA unveiled new "high-priority" rulemakings in its latest regulatory agenda and signaled a desire to more rapidly promulgate standards by withdrawing other rules.

The agenda includes in the prerule stage an injury and illness prevention program requirement, and modernization of OSHA's occupational injury and illness recording and reporting requirements.

OSHA withdrew five rules, including a hearing conservation requirement for construction workers, due to "resource constraints and other priorities." In an April 26 Web chat, OSHA administrator David Michaels said the agenda represents only those items the agency can "aggressively" pursue.

Among other agenda updates:

  • Combustible dust was moved to long-term action status while OSHA compiles research for a Small Businesses Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act panel review, tentatively scheduled for April 2011.
  • A regulation on crystalline silica was placed under proposed rule status, with a notice of proposed rulemaking anticipated in February 2011.
The agenda also announced the Department of Labor's new enforcement strategy -- Plan/Prevent/Protect -- which seeks to change the culture of workplace safety to one in which employers proactively plan and implement ways to reduce risks to workers.

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