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OSHA Rolls Out Standards Overhaul

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

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Respiratory standards are being revised, medical records requirements changed, definitions updated, and sling standards tweaked under a new regulatory overhaul issued by the Occupational Safety and health Administration.

As announced last month, OSHA says the final rule will streamline, update and simplify standards while reducing the burden on employers.

The new rule, published June 8 in the Federal Register, carries no additional requirements, so employers can comply with it immediately, according to OSHA. 

Saving Time, Paperwork

“The final rule is the third in OSHA’s Standards Improvement Projects initiative that periodically reviews OSHA regulations with the goal of improving and eliminating those that are confusing, outdated, duplicative or inconsistent,” said Dr. David Michaels, the OSHA Administrator.

The new rule includes changes to respiratory standards.

OSHA says the rule will save employers more than $43 million and 1.9 million hours of paperwork annually.

Although the immediate product of an ongoing OSHA initiative, the new rule also follows President Obama’s Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” issued Jan. 18 to simplify standards and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens.

The changes are based on OSHA’s internal review, public comments and recommendations from an Office of Management and Budget report. This is the third phase of OSHA’s SIP project; SIP-Phase I and SIP-Phase II were published in 1998 and 2005, respectively.

Change Highlights

The new rule will result in several changes to OSHA’s existing respiratory protection standard, including:

· Aligning air cylinder testing requirements for self-contained breathing apparatuses with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations;

· Clarifying that aftermarket cylinders meet National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health quality assurance requirements; and

· Clarifying that the provisions of Appendix D, which contains information for employees using respirators when not required under the standard, are mandatory if the employee chooses to use a respirator.

Other rule changes include:

· Deleting some requirements for employers to transmit exposure and medical records to NIOSH;

· Streamlining slings standards to require that employers use only slings marked with manufacturers’ loading information;

· Updating the definition of the term “potable water” to be consistent with the current Environmental Protection Agency standards;

· Removing the outdated requirement that hand dryers use warm air; and

· Removing two medical record requirements from the commercial-diving standard.


Tagged categories: Health and safety; OSHA; Regulations; Respiratory Protection Standard

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