The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently announced that it is proposing eighteen revisions to its recordkeeping, general industry, maritime, and construction regulations. With the changes proposed, OSHA intends to modernize certain standards that may be “confusing, outdated or unnecessary.” These proposed revisions are the fourth part of the Standards Improvements Project, which started in 1995. 2011 was the last time OSHA proposed revisions under the Project.
The revisions are proposed as follows:
OSHA claims these changes will cost employers about $27,899.00 per year while saving them “an estimated $3.2 million per year.” According to OSHA’s cost-benefit analysis, it anticipates that most of the cost savings will go to home builders who will no longer have to post load limits in single-family dwellings or townhouses under construction, while the rest of the savings will go to employers who will no longer have to do periodic chest x-rays. Nevertheless, the proposed rule changes do not constitute an “economically significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866 or the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. Thus, the stated benefit to employers is to ease administrative and compliance burdens.
Whether that benefit will come to fruition remains to be seen—especially given the fact that one of the proposed changes for the excavation provision in the construction standard may result in an evidentiary presumption to OSHA’s benefit. OSHA is accepting comments on the proposed rule until December 5, 2016. This means that the proposed changes will not take effect, if at all, for some time. But it is never too early for employers to plan for future regulatory actions. Employers with questions about the proposed rule changes should contact an employment attorney with knowledge of and experience with OSHA regulations and enforcement efforts.