OSHA Releases First Plain Language Rule

It's little surprise that 18- to 34-year-olds are at the heart of a nationwide increase in illegal drug use, and the manufacturing industry traditionally draws heavily from this pool of job seekers.

OSHA published its first plain language final rule this week, a revised dip tank standard designed to protect workers from fire, explosion and toxic hazards.

OSHA said the plain language text, written in question-and-answer format, will enhance employee protection because employers and employees will better understand federal requirements for dipping and coating operations. The agency pledged that all future OSHA rules will be written in plain language.

"We serve American worker's interest much better when we can communicate simply and clearly about their safety and health on the job," said OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress. "Simple language leads to better understanding and, ultimately, improved workplace safety and health."

The new standard is shorter, provides employers with more compliance options without increasing the risk of injury to employees, and is more consistent with the latest National Fire Protection Association standard, the agency says.

The dip tank standard revision, proposed last April, is one of two plain language projects undertaken by the agency as a result of the Clinton administration's Reinventing Government initiative. The workplace emergency route standard, first proposed in September 1996, is still being reviewed by OSHA.

The dip tank standard is published in the March 23, 1999, Federal Register. The effective date for the final rule is April 22, 1999.

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