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by Chris Kilbourne

What’s on OSHA’s agenda this year? Here’s a sneak peak.

Annual Survey of Illnesses and Injuries, Electronic Submission—OSHA’s proposed rule will require the roughly 80,000 organizations that respond to the Agency’s annual survey of injuries and illnesses to submit their OSHA 300 Log and Summary data for the survey in electronic format.

Backover Injuries and Fatalities—Workers across many industries face a serious hazard when vehicles perform backing maneuvers, especially vehicles with an obstructed view to the rear. OSHA is collecting information on this hazard and researching emerging technologies that may help to reduce this risk and may consider rulemaking as an appropriate measure to address this source of employee risk.

Bloodborne Pathogens—OSHA will review the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard to consider the continued need for the rule, whether the rule overlaps, duplicates, or conflicts with other federal, state, or local regulations, and the degree to which technology, economic conditions, or other factors may have changed since the rule was evaluated.

Confined Spaces in Construction—OSHA has proposed a rule to protect employees from the hazards resulting from exposure to confined spaces in the construction industry. Under the proposed rule, employers would first determine whether there is a confined space at a jobsite.

Cranes and Derricks in Construction, Revision to Digger Derricks’ Requirements—OSHA agreed to publish a direct final rule expanding the scope of a partial exemption for work by digger derricks. In the direct final rule, OSHA will revise the scope provision on digger derricks as an exemption for all work done by digger derricks covered by Subpart V of 29 CFR 1926.

Electric Power Transmission and Distribution, Electrical Protective Equipment—OSHA has a final rule awaiting action by the President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that will update the electrical protective equipment requirements for foot protection and aerial lift fall protection for electrical installations.

Infectious Disease—Review the need for regulatory action to address the risk to workers exposed to infectious diseases in healthcare and other related high-risk environments.

Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) —OSHA is still shaping a proposed rule that would require employers to develop a formal program to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses through a systematic process that proactively addresses workplace safety and health hazards.

OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards–Signage—OSHA’s consensus standard update project is part of a multiyear project to update OSHA standards that are based on consensus standards. OSHA has published a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning a consensus standard addressing signage.

Reinforced Concrete in Construction—OSHA has published a Request for Information (RFI) seeking information about the hazards associated with the reinforcing operation in construction. OSHA believes current rules regarding reinforcing steel and post-tensioning activities may not adequately address worker hazards in work related to post-tensioning and reinforcing steel.

Silica Exposure—OSHA has initiated proposed rulemaking to make the permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica stricter and to require medical surveillance and training for employees.

Slips and Falls, Personal Fall Protective Systems—OSHA has a final rule awaiting action by the OMB that will incorporate personal fall protection systems into the existing general industry rule for Walking and Working Surfaces (29 CFR 1910.23) that reflect new technologies.

Standard Improvement Project, Phase IV (SIP IV)—OSHA’s Standards Improvement Projects (SIPs) are intended to remove or revise duplicative, unnecessary, and inconsistent safety and health standards. The agency initiated a fourth rulemaking effort to identify unnecessary or duplicative provisions or paperwork requirements that is focused primarily on revisions to its construction standards in 29 CFR 1926.

Review–Lookback of OSHA Chemical Permissible Exposure Limits—OSHA is developing a Request for Information seeking input from the public to help the Agency identify effective ways to address occupational exposure to chemicals. OSHA believes many of the existing permissible exposure limits (PELs) are outdated and need revising.

Whistleblower Protection Regulations—OSHA proposes to issue procedural rules that will establish consistent and transparent procedures for the filing of whistleblower complaints.

Note on Combustible Dust—This issue was not included in the agenda. There has been no proposed rule drafted, so no new regulation is expected soon.