On June 21, the Biden Administration published its Spring 2022 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory actions. Regulatory agendas identify the goals of Federal Agencies for the future and provide insight into the Administration’s goals and priorities. Below are the elements contained within the Department of Labor/OSHA regulatory agenda that could potentially affect non-ferrous foundries. The NFFS Government Affairs Committee continues to track these topics and will provide updates as they become available.
Blood Lead Level for Medical Removal – OSHA is considering rulemaking to revise its standards for occupational exposure to lead. Recent medical findings indicate that lower blood lead levels (BLLs) in adults can result in adverse health effects including hypertension, cognitive dysfunction, and effects on renal function and reproductive systems. OSHA is seeking input on reducing the current BLL triggers in the medical surveillance and medical removal protection provisions of the general industry and construction standards for lead, and about how current ancillary provisions in the lead standards can be modified to reduce worker BLLs in industries and occupations where elevated exposure to lead continues to occur. OSHA is seeking this input from the public to help the agency identify possible areas of the lead standards for revision to improve protection of workers in industries and occupations where preventable exposure to lead continues to occur.
Heat Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings – OSHA published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on October 27, 2021, to explore rulemaking on a heat stress standard. The ANPRM initiated a comment period to gather diverse perspectives and expertise on topics, such as heat-stress thresholds, heat-acclimatization planning, and exposure monitoring from subject matter experts and those among the regulated community. OSHA is scheduled to analyze the comments from the ANPRM beginning June 2022.
PROPOSED RULE STAGE
Lockout/Tagout Update – Recent technological advancements that employ computer-based controls of hazardous energy (e.g., mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, chemical, and radiation) conflict with OSHA’s existing lockout/tagout standard. The use of these computer-based controls has become more prevalent as equipment manufactures modernize their designs. Additionally, there are national consensus standards and international standards harmonization that govern the design and use of computer-based controls: this approach of controlling hazardous energy is more accepted in other nations, which raises issues of needing to harmonize U.S. standards with those of other countries. OSHA issued a Request for Information (RFI) in May 2019 to understand the strengths and limitations of this new technology, as well as potential hazards to workers, and plans a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in 2023.
Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica: Revisions to Medical Surveillance Provisions for Medical Removal Protection – On March 25, 2016, OSHA published a final rule on Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. OSHA issued two separate standards—one for construction, and one for general industry and maritime. Neither standard included a provision for medical removal protection. Both industry and labor organizations petitioned for review of the rule. Upon review, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that OSHA failed to adequately explain its decision to omit medical removal protections from the rule and remanded the rule back to the Agency for further consideration of the issue.
Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – OSHA is amending its occupational injury and illness recordkeeping regulation. Among other things, part 1904 requires covered employers to record each recordable employee injury and illness on an OSHA Form 300, which is the “Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses,” or equivalent. In addition, employers must also prepare a supplementary OSHA Form 301 “Injury and Illness Incident Report” or equivalent that provides additional details about each case recorded on the OSHA Form 300, and, at the end of each year, employers are required to prepare a summary report of all injuries and illnesses on the OSHA Form 300A, which is the “Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses,” and post the form in a visible location in the workplace.
Under the standard, certain employers are only currently required to electronically submit injury and illness information from their OSHA Forms 300A annually. However, the information submitted is only in summary form—OSHA does not receive establishment-specific, case-specific, injury and illness data. This proposal would amend the recordkeeping regulation to require certain establishments to also electronically submit information from the OSHA Forms 300 and 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) once a year.
FINAL RULE STAGE
Update to Hazard Communication Standard – OSHA and other U.S. agencies have been involved in a long-term project to negotiate a globally harmonized approach to classifying chemical hazards and providing labels and safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals. The result is the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The GHS was adopted by the United Nations with an international goal of adoption by as many countries as possible by 2008. OSHA incorporated the GHS into the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) in March 2012 to specify requirements for hazard classification and to standardize label components and information on safety data sheets, which will improve employee protection and facilitate international trade. However, the GHS has been updated several times since OSHA’s rulemaking. While OSHA’s HCS 2012 was based on the third edition of the GHS, OSHA’s current rulemaking is to harmonize the HCS to the seventh edition of the GHS, improve harmonization with international trading partners such as Canada, and to codify a number of enforcement policies that have been issued since the 2012 standard.