What OSHA is Planning for 2020

rules, regulations

Both OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration have big plans for 2020, as reflected in the recently released Agency Rule List Agenda from the U.S. Department of Labor. Here’s an overview of proposed actions by both agencies.

OSHA Plans for 2020

In January, OSHA plans to inaugurate a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act review panel to create a standard designed to address workplace violence in the healthcare and social services industries. This comes after the House of Representatives passed a bill to require OSHA to develop a standard regarding the same issue.

In April, OSHA intends to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking for its walking-working surfaces rule to clarify requirements for stair rail systems, based on feedback it received from employers that the current requirements were unclear.

According to the agenda, OSHA plans to release its proposed rule on occupational exposure to crystalline silica in June. It would allow employers in general industry to meet the same standards as the construction industry.

OSHA also will begin analyzing comments received regarding potential revisions to its lockout/tagout and powered industrial truck regulations. OSHA is seeking to revise both regulations as evolving technologies have affected each and hopes to bring both of the regulations up to date and in line with current consensus standards.

In May, OSHA may issue a proposed rule to amend parts of the cranes and derricks in construction standard, as well as those that deal with industrial trucks. According to the agency, the proposed amendments will include correcting references to power line voltages, broadening the exclusion for forklifts carrying loads under the forks from “winch or hook” to a “winch and boom” and clarifying an exclusion for work activities by articulating cranes.

The agenda also includes a proposed rule for updates to the powered industrial trucks standard to incorporate consensus standard provisions related to design and construction. Last November, OSHA started reviewing comments on changes to the current standard, which currently relies upon American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards dating back to 1969. OSHA also sought comments on changes to locations of use, maintenance, training and operation of industrial trucks.

Other OSHA plans for 2020 include new rules for communication tower safety, welding in construction confined spaces and occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds in construction and shipyard sectors. Updates to the Hazard Communication Standard are also on the list.

In November, OSHA said it plans to propose rules regarding post-incident drug testing and safety incentive programs. That same month it also is expected to issue a proposed rule regarding Personal Protective Equipment in the construction industry.

Proposed OSHA Agenda

Topics in the Final Rule Stage:

  • Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Exemption Expansions for Railroad Roadway Work
  • Exposure to Beryllium to Review General Industry Provisions
  • Rules of Agency Practice and Procedure Concerning OSHA Access to Employee Medical Records
  • Technical Corrections to 27 OSHA Standards and Regulations

Proposed Rule Topics:

  • Amendments to the Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard
  • Communication Tower Safety
  • Update to the Hazard Communication Standard
  • Welding in Construction Confined Spaces
  • Powered Industrial Trucks Design Standard Update
  • Walking Working Surfaces
  • Occupational Exposure to Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds in Construction and Shipyard Sectors

Prerule Topics:

  • Emergency Response
  • Mechanical Power Presses Update
  • Powered Industrial Trucks
  • Lock-Out/Tag-Out Update
  • Tree Care Standard
  • Prevention of Workplace Violence in Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Blood Lead Level for Medical Removal
  • Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica; Revisions to Table 1 in the Standard for Construction

OSHA spent 2019 increasing its number of employer inspections and pursuing new rulemaking and programs. In that time, the agency conducted 33,401 inspections – up from the previous three years. During the same period, OSHA provided a record 1,392,611 workers with training on safety and health requirements through the agency’s various education programs. OSHA also reported that its free On-Site Consultation Program identified 137,885 workplace hazards and protected 3.2 million workers from potential harm in 2019.

Mine Safety and Health Plans for 2020

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has items on the DOL agenda as well, including a final rule on Refuge Alternatives for Underground Coal Mines. Other plans include:

Proposed Rule Stage:

  • Regulatory Reform of Existing Standards and Regulations: Electronic Detonators
  • Alternatives to Petitions for Modification: Non-Permissible Surveying Equipment
  • Surface Mobile Equipment, Including Powered Haulage Equipment, Safety Programs

Prerule Stage:

  • Respirable Crystalline Silica (Quartz)
  • Exposure of Underground Miners to Diesel Exhaust