OSHA Standards Update Wins ISEA's Praise

The International Safety Equipment Association's president said Dec. 15 that ISEA supports OSHA's direct final rule, issued one day earlier, that will update some standards based on national consensus standards. "OSHA is proposing to eliminate references to consensus standards where they are outdated or duplicative of regulatory text, using the direct final rule method," Dan Shipp stated in an email to Occupational Health & Safety's editor, Jerry Laws. "Far from being 'upset' about it, ISEA applauds OSHA for using this expedited regulatory approach to update its standards. We've consistently recommended that OSHA use the same approach to update references to PPE consensus standards as these standards are revised."

OSHA previously proposed a way to update numerous PPE standards by stating they would comply with "good design standards," and this is what ISEA opposed. "Our concern with OSHA's latest proposal on PPE is that it replaces references to well-known standards with a vague, generic requirement that PPE comply with an unspecified 'good design standard,' " Shipp wrote. "ISEA and others testified in an OSHA hearing on this issue on December 4.  You can find our testimony, and links to more information about this issue, at www.safetyequipment.org/gov.htm."

OSHA is taking comments until Jan. 14 (docket No. OSHA-2007-0040, www.regulations.gov) on the Dec. 14 direct final rule, which addresses welding definitions, abrasive wheel specifications, floor and wall openings, railings, toeboards, marking of portable compressed gas cylinders, and spray finishing. "This rule is part of OSHA's ongoing effort to update its regulatory references to consensus standards," said OSHA chief Edwin Foulke Jr. "The revisions will clarify employer obligations and maintain current levels of employee protection."

The rule will delete several references to consensus standards that have requirements that duplicate or are comparable to other OSHA rules, the agency said. The direct final rule will take effect in 90 days unless significant adverse comments are received by Jan. 14.

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