Short and sweet

Can occupational safety and health regulations be short and to the point? According to Virginia, the answer is yes.

While working on a feature article for Safety+Health magazine, I spoke with Jay Withrow, who is the director of the Division of Legal Support for Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry. The commonwealth is a State Plan state, and in 2009 Virginia promulgated a standard regulating safe backing operations for vehicles and equipment.

The standard – which covers both construction and general industry – is a mere two pages long.

“We did try to keep it as brief as we could and make it as simple as we could,” Withrow told me.

Granted, Virginia’s standard merely covers the precautions employers must take for a work vehicle to safely back up; it’s not a standard addressing the issues of communicating chemical hazards on a global scale (.pdf file). Still, in a world where “brevity” and “government regulations” are rarely uttered in the same breath, Virginia’s rule is a welcomed change of pace.

The opinions expressed in "Washington Wire" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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