Regulatory Agenda Outlines Agencies’ Rulemaking Plans
Among the occupational health and safety issues listed on the Department of Labor’s most recent regulatory agenda are an update to OSHA’s hazard communication standard and revisions to OSHA’s beryllium, crystalline silica, and lead standards. The agenda was released in May. OSHA is in the process of conducting rulemaking to harmonize its hazard communication standard with the latest edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. OSHA first released its revised hazard communication standard, aligning it with the third edition of the GHS, in March 2012. Since then, the GHS has been updated several times, and the United Nations recently completed its seventh edition of the document. OSHA’s upcoming notice of proposed rulemaking, projected to be published in February 2019, is also intended to codify a number of enforcement policies that have been issued since 2012. OSHA’s rulemaking on occupational exposure to beryllium remains in the proposed rule stage. The agency previously proposed to revoke ancillary provisions such as housekeeping and personal protective equipment for the construction and shipyard sectors that were adopted on Jan. 9, 2017. In May, OSHA proposed to extend the compliance date for certain ancillary requirements of its general industry beryllium standard. The extension to Dec. 12, 2018, would apply to all processes, operations, or areas where workers may be exposed to materials containing beryllium that fall under the scope of the general industry standard. OSHA does not intend to change the new permissible exposure limit for beryllium of 0.2 µg/m3 averaged over eight hours.  Revisions to Table 1 of OSHA’s construction standard for occupational exposure to crystalline silica are under consideration. Table 1, “Specified Exposure Control Methods When Working With Materials Containing Crystalline Silica,” matches common construction tasks with dust control methods that have been shown to be effective. In November 2018, OSHA intends to publish a request for information on the effectiveness of control measures not currently included for tasks and tools listed in Table 1. 
OSHA intends to explore possible areas of its lead standards for revision to improve the protection of workers in industries and occupations where preventable exposure to lead occurs. The agency plans to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that would seek input from the public to help OSHA consider regulatory options to lower blood lead levels in affected workers. OSHA anticipates the ANPRM will be published in January 2019. The new regulatory agenda also indicates that MSHA will soon be conducting a “retrospective study” of its 2014 respirable coal mine dust rule that is intended to evaluate whether the rule “achieves MSHA’s goals of reducing and maintaining respirable coal mine dust levels to protect miners from black lung.” MSHA was expected to publish a request for information on its retrospective study in June. The agency intends to evaluate data collected using continuous personal dust monitors to determine whether the 1.5 mg/m3 exposure limit should be lowered to protect miners’ health; whether the frequency of CPDM sampling should be increased; and whether samples taken on shifts longer than eight hours should be converted to an 8-hour equivalent concentration to protect miners who work longer shifts. As this issue went to press, an RFI had not yet been issued. For more information, view the spring 2018 agency rule list for DOL.
Revisions to Table 1 of OSHA’s construction standard for occupational exposure to crystalline silica are under consideration.