Recordkeeping and Crane Proposals New on OSHA Agenda

According to OSHA’s latest semiannual regulatory agenda, released July 3, the agency plans to issue two new proposals related to recordkeeping and cranes and derricks in construction. The regulatory agenda lists the priorities of the administration and the rulemakings they expect to release this year; however, OSHA is not required to adhere to the timeline.
New to OSHA’s agenda is a proposed rule with a target release date of November, which would amend its recordkeeping regulations. The proposal would, “clarify that the duty to make and maintain accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses is an ongoing obligation.”  According to the agency, if the employer fails to create a record when first required to do so, the duty does not expire. 

OSHA’s timing of the new rulemaking is notable in light of a recent recordkeeping case involving an ABC member, in which the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that a company’s failure to record an injury or illness is a distinct event, not an ongoing one. The court also ruled the statute of limitations for OSHA to fine a company for such a violation is six months after the last violation occurred, not six months after the record-keeping period ends.

Cranes and Derricks
Also new to OSHA’s agenda is a proposed rule slated for September which would make corrections and amendments to the cranes and derricks in construction standard published in August 2010. According to the agency, the proposal clarifies the exclusion for work activities by articulating cranes and broadens the exclusion for forklifts carrying loads under the fork, along with other clarifications. 

Other Upcoming Proposals and Final Rules
OSHA also plans to move forward with proposed and final rules on a range of other issues of importance to the construction industry:
Long-Term Action on MSDs
OSHA continues to list the contentious rule on musculoskeletal disorder reporting requirements under “long term actions.” Under the proposed rule, the OSHA Form 300 would have been revised to include an additional reporting column for MSDs. ABC opposed the change due to the vague and subjective definition of what would constitute an MSD, in addition to the hardships it would impose on businesses. 

OSHA temporarily withdrew the proposal in January 2011, citing a need to gather more feedback from small businesses. However, OSHA is currently prohibited from pursuing its proposal on MSDs during the remainder of fiscal year 2013, due to the continuing appropriations resolution signed into law March 26.