MSD Column Proposal Appears on OSHA’s Spring 2011 Regulatory Agenda

On July 7, OSHA released its Spring 2011 semi-annual regulatory agenda, which lists impending final rules for confined spaces in construction and hazard communication and reintroduces the proposed rule to restore a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) column on the OSHA 300 log. OSHA will hold a Web chat to discuss the agenda July 11 at 2:30pm EDT.

The agency first proposed reinstating the MSD column in January 2010 but withdrew it a year later following concerns from the business community, a controversial decision among safety stakeholders. (See “OSHA Withdraws Proposed MSD Column on Injury/Illness Logs” to learn more.) OSHA reopened the public record on this proposal in May. The rule would not change existing recordkeeping regulations but instead compel employers to mark the MSD column box if an already-recorded accident meets the definition of an MSD.

OSHA plans to review information gathered from stakeholder meetings held in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy regarding the MSD column proposal “and take appropriate action based on the information received.”

OSHA’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2), a rule that would require employers to “find and fix” hazards and has been a special priority of OSHA Administrator David Michaels, remains on the agenda in the pre-rule stage. The agency initiated the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act (SBREFA) process for I2P2 in June.

Other proposed rules on the agenda include Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems (Slips, Trips, and Fall Prevention), for which the agency will analyze comments in August; and a rule to modernize OSHA’s reporting system, for which OSHA still intends to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in September.

Final Rules in Construction Confined Space, HazCom

The Spring 2011 agenda also points to several rulemakings expected to become final rules this year: confined spaces in construction, in November; the Hazard Communication Standard, in September; and Electric Power Transmission and Distribution/Electrical Protective Equipment, in September, among others.

The agenda includes a ruling to revise underground construction and demolition standards, which is expected to become a direct final rule in August. According to the agenda, this rule will “clarify and simplify OSHA’s standards applicable to cranes and derricks in construction by establishing a single set of standards for all construction activities involving cranes and derricks.”

Other direct final rulings include the agency’s intention to update its standards on acetylene and PPE in accordance with national consensus standards.

Rulemakings for combustible dust, diacetyl, beryllium, infectious diseases, bloodborne pathogens and reinforced concrete in construction are listed, as some have been for years, in the agenda’s pre-rule stage.

To view all regulatory actions on the agenda, visit http://www.dol.gov/asp/regs/agenda.htm. To learn how to participate in the July 11 Web chat, visit http://www.dol.gov/regulations.

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