June 21, 2011 Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH 0Comment

In a post on May 5, I predicted that Labor Secretary Hilda Solis would be publishing within a few days her semi-annual regulatory plan for new worker health and safety rules. I made that projection based on requirements in the Regulatory Flexibility Act and Executive Order 12866, which suggest these plans be published every April and October. As I’ve written previously, this Administration has a habit of being tardy releasing these plans, and this fifth document is posed to be the most belated. According to a very nice press officer with the Office of Management and Budget, the agencies regulatory plans should be published in early July, about three weeks from now.

The Labor Department announced a year ago its “Plan, Prevent, Plan” approach to labor law enforcement. Specifically, it is employers’ responsibility to know the law, and to “find and fix” violations (DOL Strategic Plan, p.100.) Some of the Department’s worker health and safety regulatory initiatives are designed to advance that strategy, and I’m eager to see the Department’s plan for adopting such improvements, including:

*issuing a proposed rule to protect workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica from respiratory disease, cancer and autoimmune disorders. OSHA submitted a draft proposed rule in February to OMB for review; it remains there.

*conducting the required review by small business representatives of draft regulatory text and economic analysis of a comprehensive work-related injury and illness prevention program.

*issuing a final rule to amend an injury recording form so that work-related musculoskeletal disorders are distinguished from other injuries; a small portion of U.S. employers are required to keep these logs.

When the Labor Department’s next regulatory agenda is finally published, you’ll find a recap here on The Pump Handle.

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