The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its latest regulatory agenda on Nov. 20. The agenda lists the priorities of the administration and the rulemakings they expect to release in 2016, their final year. An update on rulemakings affecting the construction industry is below.

CRYSTALLINE SILICA EXPOSURE

What to Expect: OSHA plans to issue a final rule in Feb. 2016.

About the Proposal: The proposed rule drastically lowers the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of crystalline silica for the construction industry. The proposal also would require contractors to implement engineering controls and follow several “ancillary” provisions, such as exposure monitoring, medical surveillance and the establishment of regulated areas.

ABC’s Actions: ABC and the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) submitted comments asking the agency to withdraw the burdensome proposal until it can demonstrate a rule of this kind is necessary and workable. In addition, CISC testified at OSHA’s public hearing stating that the agency has not met its burden of demonstrating that the proposal is technologically and economically feasible. ABC and CISC also submitted post-hearing comments on the proposed rulemaking. In addition, CISC released a report which found that OSHA's proposed silica standards for construction will cost the industry $5 billion per year—roughly $4 .5 billion per year more than OSHA’s estimates.

ELECTRONIC RECORDKEEPING

What to Expect:  OSHA plans to issue a final rule in March 2016.

About the Proposal:
Under the new rule, employers would have to electronically submit detailed injury and illness records to the agency on a quarterly or annual basis that would be posted on an online publically searchable database. OSHA would require establishments that have employed between 20 and 249 employees at any time in the previous calendar year to electronically submit a form (OSHA Form 300A) on an annual basis. Establishments that employed 250 or more employees in the previous calendar year would be required to electronically submit the OSHA 300A form annually and submit the OSHA Forms 300 and 301 quarterly.

ABC’s Actions: ABC submitted comments to OSHA requesting that it withdraw the proposed rule and supplemental notice stating it exceeds the authority delegated to the agency by Congress and does nothing to achieve its stated goal of reducing injuries and illnesses. In addition, the ABC-led Coalition for Workplace Safety (CWS) expressed serious concerns that the proposal will force employers to reveal sensitive information without achieving its stated goal of reducing injuries and illnesses over the proposal in writing and at an OSHA public meeting. ABC met with officials from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to voice concerns with the proposal on behalf of CWS in Nov. 2015.

OTHER UPCOMING PROPOSALS
LONG TERM ACTION ITEMS
  • Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements--Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) Column – To Be Determined
  • Injury and Illness Prevention Program – To Be Determined