Chamber of Commerce: Don't Micromanage OSHA

The Chamber of Commerce submitted a letter urging House leaders to support future amendments of the House FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill that if offered, would block current provisions that compel OSHA to issue a variety of regulations and standards.

According to the chamber, the provisions in the bill “create an unacceptable level of micromanaging OSHA in a way that would impair the agency's ability to make solid professional judgments about what areas are appropriate for regulating.

The chamber says in the letter that if amendments were proposed to strike such provisions, the group would lend its full support.

In the bill under "General Provisions," OSHA is directed to issue a regulation by Nov. 30 that would require employers to pay for employee personal protective equipment (PPE) in all circumstances. In addition, the bill's accompanying report directs OSHA to issue standards on pandemic influenza and diacetyl exposure on “an expedited basis.”

“The chamber is concerned that such an 'expedited basis' would mean foregoing certain rulemaking procedures as mandated by both the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Administrative Procedure Act that are necessary for achieving the balance needed for a well tailored and effective regulation,” the letter states. “More importantly, in neither of these areas does data exist to support such a regulation. Without sufficient data about the level of exposure against which employers must protect their employees, OSHA simply cannot develop these regulations.”

The appropriations bill is scheduled to hit the floor this week.

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