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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Disappointing summer for progress by OSHA on new worker safety regulations

Just before Memorial Day—the kickoff of the summer season—the Obama Administration released its agenda for upcoming regulatory action. In the worker safety world of OSHA, “regulatory action” rarely means a new regulation. Rather, it refers to a step along the long, drawn-out process to (maybe) a new rule to protect workers from occupational injuries, illnesses or deaths.

The items identified by the Labor Department suggested that OSHA planned a productive summer of 2014. Here’s what OSHA outlined for its summer tasks.

In May 2014:

Accomplished? NO

In June 2014:

  • Publish a request for information from stakeholders to address the hazards faced by those who work on communication towers, in particular the risk of working at heights.

Accomplished? NO

In July 2014:

  • Publish a proposed rule to protect workers who are exposed to beryllium, which can cause lung cancer and chronic beryllium disease.  More than two years ago, in February 2012, the world’s largest producer and supplier of beryllium AND the United Steelworkers handed OSHA the regulatory text of a proposed rule on beryllium. It was a document that the two key stakeholders had thoughtfully negotiated. They expected their effort would expedite OSHA’s...

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