The federal government, including agencies such as OSHA, are required to give notice of significant regulatory activity by publishing a “semi-annual” regulatory agenda that outlines the status of on-going and planned regulatory activity. Apparently, OSHA doesn’t understand the meaning of “semi-annual” because it long delayed the publication of a regulatory agenda for 2012, waiting to the final days of the year, and just in time for 2013. Congressional Republicans had been pressing the Administration for a regulatory agenda since late summer, believing the delay was because the President didn’t want to stir up controversy in an election year.
However, the wait is finally over, and OSHA projects that during 2013, final agency action will be taken on 10 regulations, including:
- A new Confined Spaces in Construction standard (by July 2013);
- An updated Electric Power Transmission and Distribution standard (by March 2013);
- Eliminating many of the incentives of the Cooperative Programs (by April 2013);
- Consensus Standard Update – Signage (April 2013);
- Vertical Tandem Lifts (May 2013);
- Updating the Walking Working Surfaces standard, i.e., Fall Protection (by August 2013);
- Changes to the Injury & Illness Recording/Reporting requirements (by May 2013), including moving from the SIC system to the NAICS and revising the criteria to increase the incidents that are required to be reported directly to OSHA;
- Three new standards for whistleblower enforcement.
Additionally, OSHA has proposed regulations in the pipeline that will require more time to be completed:
- Review/look back of OSHA Chemical standards;
- New Beryllium standard;
- New Bloodborne Pathogen standard;
- New comprehensive Combustible Dust standard;
- New Injury & Illness Prevention Program rule (I2P2), which has been a top priority for OSHA (targeted for SBREFA by end of this month and NPRM to be published by end of 2013 – both which are nearly impossible to meet since SBREFA has not started yet).
Although the timelines laid out in the regulatory agenda often are delayed, the list does provide the public some insight into what priorities OSHA has set for itself. If you have any questions regarding any specific proposal, please contact your legal counsel.