OSHA Seeks Comments on Standards Improvement Project

In an effort to improve and streamline OSHA standards and lessen regulatory burdens without reducing employee protections, the agency has published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in today's Federal Register.

OSHA is seeking comments on the third phase of its Standards Improvement Project (SIPs III) – the third in a series of rulemaking actions. The agency is seeking to improve its standards by revising confusing, outdated, duplicative or inconsistent requirements.

According to the agency, the revisions will help employers better understand their obligations, which will lead to increased compliance, ensure greater safety and health for employees and reduce compliance costs and paperwork burdens.

In the advance notice, changes being considered include revisions to 11 standards that OSHA has preliminarily identified to be addressed during the SIPs III rulemaking. OSHA is asking for comments on updating medical testing and industrial hygiene sampling requirements in the various health standards. OSHA also is considering methods to make training requirements in both health and safety standards consistent.

The agency published two Standards Improvement Project final rules, SIPs I in 1998 and SIPS II in 2005. SIPs I revised 147 provisions in 20 standards and, according to OSHA, saved $9.65 million per year in compliance costs. SIPs II addressed 41 provisions in 21 standards, reduced compliance costs by $6.79 million per year and annual paperwork burdens by 210,105 hours, according to the agency.

Comments on the ANPRM must be submitted by Feb. 20 to: OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. S-778B, Room N2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20210. Comments also may be submitted via fax at (202) 693-1648 or electronically to http://ecomments.osha.gov.

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