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NAW News

OSHA Reform

- October 2013

Legislation to reform the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), favoring confrontation over cooperation as the preferred approach to workplace health and safety regulation (“Protecting America’s Workers Act” or “PAWA”) stalled in both the 111th and 112th Congresses and seems likely to suffer a similar fate in the newly-seated 113th. Nonetheless, while the legislative landscape in this area appears barren, we believe that OSHA will continue to be actively engaged in new regulatory initiatives for the reminder of the newly-reelected Obama Administration. A proposal aimed at gathering data related to workplace repetitive motion injuries appears to remain in play and were publication of a final rule to occur, concern in the employer community about prospects for a more extensive ergonomics rulemaking would be re-ignited.

Timing for the publication of a proposed “Injury and Illness Prevention Program” (“I2P2”) rule requiring all employers to implement injury and illness prevention programs once thought likely to be promulgated one and one-half years ago, remains unclear. OSHA indicates that the I2P2 rulemaking will “provide employers the tools necessary to find and fix their own workplace safety and health hazards. Moreover, this rulemaking is projected to enhance workers’ voice and participation in the process, as well as establish guidelines and require employers to implement their own process that proactively addresses workplace safety and health hazards and ultimately reduces workplace injuries and illnesses.”

(For more information and these and similar issues see the separate staff report “Regulatory Agenda.”)