U.S. OSHA Withdraws Second Regulation in Two Weeks, Seeks More Input from Small Business

On January 25, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) temporarily withdrew a proposed rule to restore a column on employer injury and illness logs for work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). IPC and several other industry associations strongly opposed this rule on the basis that it was a precursor to broad, new efforts to enforce ergonomics standards in the workplace. This rule would have been extremely cumbersome for small businesses because it would force them to devote extensive time and resources to implementing the new recordkeeping requirements. OSHA stated that the rule has been withdrawn in order to gather more input from small businesses on the impact of this rule. OSHA will engage in a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy to identify areas of excessive burden and will announce details of the first meeting within 30 days. Although this is a temporary withdraw of the rule, we hope that OSHA’s actions are an indication of the Agency’s intentions to work with industry and reduce the burden of regulations.

 Just days ago, OSHA withdrew its proposed interpretation requiring engineering and administrative controls where feasible. In other words, personal protective equipment (PPE) would no longer be able to be used if engineering and/or administrative controls are available. OSHA plans to gather feedback from the comments already received on the proposed interpretation and hold a stakeholder meeting to further understand the impact on industry. Some stakeholders speculate that OSHA’s withdraw of two rules within days of each other is indicative of the President’s new regulatory strategy to take a closer look at the everyday impact of regulations on businesses and ensure that regulations are not overly burdensome and unnecessary. If this is the case, industry should look forward to similar actions from other Federal agencies.

By Stephanie Castorina, StephanieCastorina@ipc.org

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