Small Business Review of Injury, Illness Prevention Rule Subject to ‘Brief Delay'

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By Stephen Lee  

A “brief delay” may interfere with the small business review of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's injury and illness prevention program rule, according to a Feb. 21 e-mail sent by an OSHA official to potential review panel members.

The official said the delay was caused by a holdup in the preparation of materials for the panel members. She also said a new schedule has yet to be determined, but that planned conference calls will have to be rescheduled.

In January, OSHA said it would kick off its SBREFA review in early March. The rule has not yet been proposed, nor has any draft text been publicly released (42 OSHR 46, 1/19/12).

First Step in Rulemaking

The review, carried out under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), is a first step in a rulemaking. During the review, small business representatives peruse draft regulatory text and make inquiries of agency officials about compliance. Officials from OSHA, SBA, and the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will sit on the panel.

OSHA's program rule would make employers responsible for identifying and correcting safety hazards in their own workplaces. Agency officials say the rule has the potential to address a much wider range of hazards, some of which are likely to be specific to one particular workplace, than OSHA ever could through regulation.

OSHA said in its most recent regulatory agenda that it was working on assessing the scope of the proposed rulemaking, analyzing its costs and benefits, and conducting a detailed risk analysis (42 OSHR 69, 1/26/12).