OSHA Issues Technical Corrections to 27 Workplace Safety Standards

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OSHA has issued corrections to nearly 30 workplace health and safety regulations in a new Final Rule, according to the February 18 Federal Register.

Per OSHA’s Final Rule, the revisions will address various outdated references, omissions, misprints, and graphic inaccuracies related to:

  • Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries Illnesses (29 CFR 1904)
  • General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
  • Maritime (29 CFR 1918); and
  • Construction (29 CFR 1926)

OSHA clarified the changes will not expand or revoke employer obligations or rights, nor will they impact substantive requirements, coverage of regulatory standards, or costs for employers. The changes are effective immediately.

More about the Changes

OSHA's Final Rule consists of various corrections to minor inaccuracies, typographical errors, and extraneous or omitted materials in 27 OSHA regulations and standards. Per agency officials, the changes are intended to reduce regulatory burdens associated with the need to clarify inaccurate text or graphics in standards involving shipyard employment, long-shoring, general industry, construction, and recordkeeping.

Given the expansiveness of OSHA law, the changes are indeed minor, covering issues ranging from misprints to missed reference alterations associated with previous rule changes. Examples include:

  • Correcting omissions in the recordkeeping and reporting scope provision to ensure language contained in § 1904.1(a)(1) clarifies revised standards relating to the requirement that even partially exempt employers report worker fatalities, hospitalization, amputation, or loss of eye.
  • Updating definitions contained under § 1904.46 to reference the modern North American Industry Classification System-2007 Code (NAICS) rather than the outdated Standard Industry Classification code of 1987 (SIC).
  • Replacing / removing references to two U.S. territories which no longer exist: the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (to be replaced with the Northern Mariana Islands) and the Canal Zone (which will be removed entirely).
  • Removing § 1910.1027(n)(6), a standard that required employers to transfer medical record to NIOSH should they go out of business without a successor employer or another designated organization to receive the records. OSHA previously ruled these records were too costly to keep, and did not provide any substantial record-keeping value, and removed the requirement in various standards, but overlooked that contained in the cadmium standard.
  • Corrections to formatting errors which did not provide accurate values for filter lens protection in tables contained under Subpart I—Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Eye and Face Protection in 29 CFR 1915.153.
  • Correcting paragraphs 1926.62(d)(2)(iii) and (iv) in the § 1926.62 lead standard in construction by replacing outdated references to ‘‘Table 1 of this section’’ with the correct references to ‘‘paragraph (f) of this section,” as Table 1 no longer exists.
  • Correcting inaccurate pole scaffold metric conversions contained in the Scaffold standards § 1926.452(a)(3).
  • Replacing graphic depictions showing only ties with guys, ties, and braces contained in Subpart L—Scaffolds, Appendix E to Subpart L, Drawings and Illustrations.

Though these and other changes brought about by OSHA’s latest changes are minor corrections, they speak to the expansiveness of OSHA regulations – even OSHA, the agency which makes and enforces these laws, cannot always navigate its rulebook to correct every instance of inaccurate information or outdated references.

Correcting these types of errors, however, is important both to the employers who wish to comply with standards in their industry in an efficient manner, and to regulators who must ultimately bear the burden of having to address any inefficiencies or regulatory burdens associated with them.

Hendershot Cowart , P.C.is an experienced and regarding leader in OSHA law. Based in Houston, our attorneys assist employers across Texas and beyond in matters involving OSHA citation defense, OSHA inspections, catastrophe management, and proactive compliance. Contact us to learn more about our services.

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