Rely on Occupational Safety & Health ReporterSM for full news coverage and documentation of federal and state workplace safety and health programs, standards, legislation,...
President Donald Trump’s drive to cut regulations could slow or cancel rules under development by OSHA in an effort to alleviate the regulatory burden on industries. But industry officials say they’ve backed many of the rules since their inception.
The proposed rules range from revising requirements for construction crane operator certification to adding new respirator fit test procedures to the list of Occupational Safety and Health Administration-approved measures.
All the rulemakings began at the request of industry groups and businesses, often with the goal of changing existing OSHA rules that can cause confusion among employers.
The Trump administration on Jan. 20 issued a memorandum declaring rules in development must be reviewed Trump-appointed department or agency heads before moving forward. As of Feb. 3, no appointed leaders for OSHA or the Department of Labor have been confirmed.
In addition, a Jan. 30 executive order from Trump says that for every new rule an agency issues, the agency must identify at least two regulations for elimination. The cost savings from eliminating the rules must also be greater or equal to the costs of the new rule.
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget on Feb. 3 clarified the two-for-one mandate applied only to significant rules—those regulations with annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more.
The proposed OSHA rules closest to becoming final were three regulations making changes to OSHA’s 2010 rule for construction cranes (29 C.F.R. 1926 Subpart CC).
Crane owners and operators have pressed OSHA to revise an operator certification requirement set to take effect Nov. 10 mandating operators to be certified by third-party evaluators based on the type of crane and the crane’s lifting capacity.
The industry hopes OSHA will drop the capacity requirement, saying it would increase certification costs and tie up cranes for testing instead of construction.
“We do feel a more prescriptive rule would aid our industry,” Graham Brent, chief executive officer of the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 2.
Having a new rule in place by the Nov. 10 deadline would be difficult under any administration because of the slow rulemaking process, Brent said.
Dean McKenzie, head of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction, told construction industry members in November that if the rule (RIN:1218-AC96) wasn’t completed in time for the Nov. 10 deadline, OSHA could issue a directive extending the deadline.
There are two other proposed OSHA crane rules—one of which seeks to amend the 2010 rule by clarifying provisions that industry members and manufacturers had sought guidance for, including a broader definition for when a forklift is excluded from the rule and correcting a caption on approved hand signals (RIN:1218-AC81).
OSHA had been expected to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking this month.
The other proposed rule tries to implement a 2014 court settlement between OSHA and the Association of American Railroads explaining which types of railroad construction equipment are excluded from the rule ( Assoc. of Am. R.R. v. OSHA , D.C. Cir., No. 10-1386, 9/9/14 ).
Patti Reilly, a spokeswoman for the railroad group, told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 2, the association hopes that after the new administration reviews the rule and that the regulation will be approved (RIN:1218-AD07).
Another rulemaking with industry support is a proposal to write OSHA’s first regulation specifically covering the tree care industry and such tasks as cutting and trimming trees (RIN:1218-AD04).
After the Tree Care Industry Association urged OSHA to start a rulemaking, the agency took a step forward in July when it held a day-long meeting with employer and worker representatives. A notice of proposed rulemaking was scheduled for October 2017.
The association’s senior safety adviser, Peter Gerstenberger, told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 2 the group is confident the rule it envisions would be able to pass a cost test.
The rule the association hopes OSHA writes would parallel the voluntary consensus standard (ANSI Z133-2012), that members now follow, Gerstenberger said. For employers adhering to the voluntary standard, a mandatory rule wouldn’t have additional costs.
Also on OSHA’s rulemaking agenda is a proposal from safety equipment manufacturer TSI Inc. for the agency to approve three new fit test protocols for respirators (RIN:1218-AC94). TSI says the new procedures would save time making sure respirators fit properly.
TSI officials couldn’t be reached by Bloomberg BNA for comment.
OSHA’s respiratory protection standard (29 C.F.R. 1910.134) requires that for any new fit test method to be approved, the review must proceed as a rulemaking, including accepting public comments.
The comment period for fit test methods closed in December (81 Fed. Reg. 69,740). The agency hasn’t estimated a date for issuing a final rule.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at BRolfsen@bna.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at email@example.com
The White House executive order is available at http://src.bna.com/lXj.
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)