Good Calls from OSHA on Rules Affecting Manufacturers, But …

Kevin Bogardus at The Hill reports on the reaction to the recent decisions by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to withdraw its proposed re-interpretation of occupational noise standards and the rule to require a column report possible muskuloskeletal injuries (and camel’s noise back into the tent of ergonomic rules). From “Labor unions uneasy as OSHA withdraws proposed rules“:

“We hope that these first two steps are a signal to the business community and employers in general that OSHA will ‘stop, look and listen,’” said Joe Trauger, vice president of human resources policy for the National Association of Manufacturers.

But Trauger said the actions by OSHA are not enough since other proposed rules are still being readied that could burden business. He pointed to a regulation being developed by the agency that would have employers find and fix their own workplace hazards under what will be called an injury and illness prevention plan.

Trauger said he hoped OSHA would work with business groups to mitigate their concerns. He said the administration may be taking a different tack on regulations to help create more jobs.

“Perhaps the administration has looked at the first two years and realized that the job growth is not as robust as they hoped and that a different approach is warranted,” Trauger said.

See also Washington Post, “Regulators, industry at odds on repetitive-motion injuries.”

Interesting side development is this release from Winslow Sargeant, Chief Counsel for Advocacy at the Small Business Administration, “Chief Counsel Applauds OSHA Withdrawal of Rule“:

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Chief Counsel for Advocacy Winslow Sargeant today applauded a decision by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to withdraw, at least temporarily, from OMB review a proposed rule to require employers to report work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) on their OSHA 300 Logs (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses). The temporary withdrawal of the rule will allow Advocacy and OSHA to convene a stakeholder meeting to garner additional input from small businesses on this important issue.

“When it comes to crafting federal regulations, the input of small business is invaluable. This Advocacy-OSHA meeting on MSD reporting will provide the opportunity for small businesses to voice their concerns on this critical issue,” said Sargeant. “For over 30 years the Office of Advocacy has worked on behalf of small businesses to ensure that their voice is heard within the federal rule making process.”

Business groups including the NAM were skeptical of Sargeant’s appointment to the SBA post, so it’s good to see this strong statement coming from him on the employer and competitiveness side of the ssieu.

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