- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
OSHA recently updated its semi-annual regulatory agenda. One of the major issues OSHA intends to tackle in 2012 is a “Review/Lookback of OSHA Chemical Standards.” OSHA first promulgated permissible exposure limits (PEL) in 1971, and many have not been reviewed or revised since that time. OSHA states that it is preparing a Request for Information (RFI) to be issued in August “seeking input from the public to help the agency identify effective ways to address occupational exposure to chemicals.” In the regulatory agenda, OSHA states that “There is widespread agreement among industry, labor, and professional occupational safety and health organizations that OSHA’s PELs are outdated and need revising in order to take into account newer scientific data that indicates that significant occupational health risks exist at levels below OSHA’s current PELs.” OSHA held a stakeholder meeting in June 2010 to discuss PELs, OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels has publicly stated that the agency is working on new, creative ways to address outdated PELs.
Several other high priority regulatory items are also slated for issuance in 2012. Regarding OSHA’s proposed Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2), the agenda states that OSHA will initiate a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act (SBREFA) review early in the year on the program. I2P2 would require employers to find and fix hazards in the workplace and has been a top priority for Michaels. OSHA held stakeholder meetings on I2P2 in June 2010 and just last month released a white paper explaining the benefits of the I2P2 program. OSHA’s regulatory agenda also states that the Hazard Communication Standard is inching closer to final rule stage. The agenda indicates that a final rule will be issued in February. The rule is intended to align the current hazcom standard with the Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication System (GHS). The proposed crystalline silica standard is also included in the agenda. The regulatory agenda states that a proposed rule on the standard will be published in February 2012.