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The latest OSHA regulatory agenda was released on May 21 and lists the priorities of the administration and the rulemakings they expect to release this year regarding rules on silica exposure, recordkeeping and more. 

Crystalline Silica Exposure 
What to Expect: OSHA’s latest agenda states the agency will be analyzing the comments received through June 2015 related to the latest proposed rule on silica exposure. The next step in the rulemaking process will be issuing a final rule. 

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. 

Electronic Recordkeeping
What to Expect: OSHA plans to issue a final rule in September 2015. 

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 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 over the proposal in writing and at an OSHA public meeting.

Other Upcoming Proposals
OSHA also plans to move forward with proposed and final rules on a range of other issues of importance to the construction industry including the following:

  • Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain Accurate Records of Each Recordable Injury and Illness - Proposed Rule, May 2015
  • Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards Eye and Face Protection – Final Rule, May 2015
  • Quantitative Fit Testing Protocol: Amendment to the Final Rule on Respiratory Protection – Proposed Rule, July 2015
  • Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems – Final Rule, August 2015
  • Chemical Management and Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) – Request For Information, October 2015
  • Amendments to Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard – Proposed Rule, November 2015 
  • Crane Operator Qualification in Construction – Proposed Rule, December 2015
  • Combustible Dust – SBREFA Panel, February 2016
Long Term Action Items
  • Preventing Backover Injuries and Fatalities – Long-Term Action
  • Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements – musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) – Long-Term Action 
  • Injury and Illness Prevention Program – Long-Term Action