The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a proposed rule that will revise and delete a number of its standards. This proposed rule is being implemented as “Phase III” of the agency’s Standards Improvement Project, which is designed to “remove or revise outdated, duplicative, unnecessary, and inconsistent requirements in its safety and health standards.”
According to OSHA’s summary of the proposed changes, the agency is considering a number of actions amending its standards, including revisions to its general industry, maritime, construction, and agricultural standards. Some changes will impact more than one industry. For example, OSHA explains that the proposed revisions to the General Industry “Slings” standard also would affect shipyard employment and the construction industry.
The proposed rule would make the following revisions, among others, to the above standards:
- Change the title of the General Industry standard subpart E from “Means of Egress” to “Exit Routes and Emergency Planning,” and allow the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 2006 edition of the Life Safety Code (2006 NFPA 101) and the International Fire Code (IFC) provisions to serve as independent compliance alternatives to the corresponding requirements in sections 1910.34, 1910.36, and 1910.37 of the General Industry standard.
- Revise subpart I of the General Industry standard to remove the requirement that employers prepare and maintain a written record certifying compliance with the training requirements of the General Industry Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standard, paragraph (e)(4) of the shipyard employment PPE standard, and paragraph (n)(4) of the General Industry and construction Cadmium standards. OSHA seeks comments as to whether it should revoke all or some of the other 12 standards requiring that such records be kept.
- Make seven technical revisions related to the Respiratory Protection standard, including updating DOT regulations referenced in section 1910.123(i)(4)(i); updating the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) respirator-certification requirement in section 1910.134(i)(9); revising paragraph (h)(3)(i) of the Asbestos standard for shipyards to read the same as those referenced in the General Industry and construction standards; revising the Carcinogens standard to conform with the NIOSH recommendations; and deleting the fit-testing recordkeeping requirement in paragraph (m)(3) of the 1,3-Butadiene standard and rely instead on the fit-testing recordkeeping requirements in section 1910.134.
- Update the definition of the term “potable water” in the Sanitation standards for General Industry and construction, and the Field Sanitation standard for agriculture to make it more consistent with other OSHA regulations.
- Amend its General Industry, shipyard employment, and construction standards regulating slings by removing outdated tables that specify safe working loads, and revising other provisions that reference the outdated tables.
- Remove two unnecessary requirements from its Commercial Diving Operations standard that require employers to retain dive-team member medical records for five years.
- Remove the requirements to transfer records to the NIOSH for 15 substance-specific standards in subpart Z of the General Industry standard, as well as from the standard regulating access to employee exposure and medical records.
Comments on these changes must be received within 90 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, and must reference the docket number: OSHA-2006-0049 or the regulatory identification number (RIN): 1218-AC19. Written comments can be mailed or hand-delivered to the OSHA Docket Office, Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20210. Alternatively, comments may be submitted electronically at the federal eRulemaking portal: www.regulations.gov. Comments 10 pages or fewer in length, including attachments, can be faxed to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-1648.
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