U.S. agencies and regulatory bodies are constantly proposing, reviewing, and finalizing new rules that often mean significant changes for businesses across the nation. Almost any company of any size needs to be aware of forthcoming changes that will impact how they manage their impacts and responsibilities related to occupational health and safety (OHS).
However, between proposed rules, final rules, pre-rules, long-tem actions and the dozens upon dozens of rules being reviewed at any given time, it can be hard for businesses to separate the wheat from the chaff and determine which events will directly affect how they do business.
In an attempt to ensure the most important issues are on your radar, I’ve put together a list of the Top 5 OHS regulatory events on the immediate horizon business leaders as well as OHS managers and staff need to know about.
We’ll start with number five and countdown to number one throughout the week.
5. The crystalline silica rule:
Earlier this year, OSHA started preparing a rule that would protect workers exposed to crystalline silica, a basic component of sand, granite, soil and other minerals that has been classified as a human lung carcinogen and can cause silicosis and tuberculosis.
More than 2 million U.S. workers, at least 100,000 of which operate in high-risk jobs like stonecutting, rock drilling, foundry work, blasting, quarry work and tunneling are exposed to crystalline silica on an ongoing basis. When the rule is implemented, thousands of employers in industries where crystalline silica is present will have to take an array of precautions to minimize exposure of workers to the dangerous compound.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has already gone over the rule, and it has been returned to OSHA, which is well passed the typical deadline for review – it should have published a proposed rule by May 15. In a web chat this past Monday, an OSHA representative stated that the agency has made no final decision on the scope of a proposed rule and added “OSHA continues to work with OMB and is confident that a proposed rule will be published soon.” Since the agency has been working on the framework and scope of this rule since at least 2003, it is about time.
Check back tomorrow for the fourth most important upcoming OHS regulatory event you need to know about.