An image of a worker in a diacetyl processing plant.

OSHA Diacetyl Standard Coming in 2009?

OSHA lists two concrete steps for a regulation that would require controls for employees exposed to the artificial butter food flavoring diacetyl in the latest Department of Labor semiannual regulatory agenda, which was published this week. The first step, an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, is listed as being completed this month, while the second – completion of the review required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 -- is listed for completion in February 2009.

Two unions, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, petitioned DOL on July 26, 2006, for an Emergency Temporary Standard that would protect employees exposed to diacetyl, but OSHA refused on Sept. 25, 2007. Congressional Democrats on DOL oversight panels criticized the denial and urged then-OSHA-chief Edwin Foulke Jr. to issue a standard anyway, and the agency agreed to initiate the rulemaking.

The OSHA contact for this rulemaking (numbered RIN 1218-AC33) is Dorothy Dougherty, director of the Directorate of Standards and Guidance (202-693-1950, dougherty.dorothy@dol.gov).

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