Jan 13, 2020
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OSHA has a decent list of regulatory agenda items. While I don't want to go through them all, I do want to highlight five that I think are particularly impactful. Safety professionals always need to be looking ahead at what is coming so we can prepare our employers, update any programs, which includes employee training and certifications that may be required.
1. Lock-Out/Tag-Out Update - Pre-Rule Stage
Recent technological advancements that employ computer-based controls of hazardous energy (e.g., mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, chemical, and radiation) conflict with OSHA's existing lock-out/tag-out standard. The use of these computer-based controls has become more prevalent as equipment manufacturers modernize their designs.
Additionally, there are national consensus standards and international standards harmonization that govern the design and use of computer-based controls. This approach of controlling hazardous energy is accepted in other nations, which raises issues of needing to harmonize U.S. standards with those of other countries. The Agency has recently seen an increase in requests for variances for these devices. This RFI will be useful in understanding the strengths and limitations of this new technology, as well as potential hazards to workers. The Agency may also hold a stakeholder meeting and open a public docket to explore the issue.
2. Emergency Response and Preparedness - Pre-Rule Stage
OSHA currently regulates aspects of emergency response and preparedness; they promulgated some of these standards decades ago, and none as comprehensive emergency response standards.
Consequently, they do not address the full range of hazards or concerns currently facing emergency responders, nor do they reflect significant changes in performance specifications for protective clothing and equipment. The Agency acknowledged that current OSHA standards also do not reflect all the considerable developments in safety and health practices that have already been accepted by the emergency response community and incorporated into industry consensus standards.
OSHA is considering updating these standards with information gathered through an RFI and public meetings.
3. Mechanical Power Press Update - Pre-Rule Stage
The current OSHA standard on mechanical power presses does not address the use of hydraulic or pneumatic power presses. Additionally, the existing standard is approximately 40 years old and does not address technological changes. OSHA previously published an ANPRM on Mechanical Power Presses (June 2007) in which it identified several options for updating this standard.
The Agency would like to update the public record to determine how best to proceed. This project is under Executive Order 13777, which facilitates the review of existing regulations that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them.
4. Powered Industrial Trucks - Pre-Rule Stage
Powered Industrial Trucks (e.g., fork trucks, tractors, lift trucks, and motorized hand trucks) are ubiquitous in industrial (and many retail) worksites. The Agency's standard still relies upon ANSI standards from 1969.
The Industrial Truck Association has been encouraging OSHA to update and expand the OSHA standard to account for the substantial revisions to ANSI standards on powered industrial trucks over the last 45 years. The current standard covers 11 types of vehicles, and there are now 19 types. Also, the standard itself incorporates an out-of-date consensus standard.
OSHA will begin the process to develop a proposed rule updating the consensus standard referenced from the 1969 version of the American National Standard B56.1 to the 2016 version. This project is also under Executive Order 13777, which facilitates the review of existing regulations that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them.
5. Tree Care Standard - Pre-Rule Stage
There is no OSHA standard for tree care operations; the Agency currently applies a patchwork of standards to address the severe hazards in this industry. The tree care industry previously petitioned the Agency for rulemaking. Tree care continues to be a high-hazard industry.
Wrapping it all up
Again, these are just five of the agenda items to watch. How can you keep up on these proposed changes without sitting in front of your computer at www.reginfo.gov? Well, luckily, there is an app for that - RegInfo. With RegInfo Mobile, you can have information about upcoming federal regulations and forms at your fingertips.
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA) partnered to bring you a mobile version of Reginfo.gov, an online look into agency rulemakings that are on the books, planned, or under review by OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).
RegInfo Mobile also provides information about forms and other information collections that OIRA has approved or is currently reviewing under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). With RegInfo Mobile, you have access to all of this information, and more, to the palm of your hand! Some of the app features are as follows:
Let me know on LinkedIn if you have used this app at all - be sure to @ mention Blaine J. Hoffmann or The SafetyPro Podcast LinkedIn page. You can also find the podcast on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.