OSHA's Cranes Rule Awaiting More Comments

Thanks to Celeste Monforton, MPH, DrPH, an assistant research professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and a regular poster at the popular blog The Pump Handle, we know OSHA's final cranes and derricks regulation will not be published before June 18 – and it probably will be much later than that date. Monforton noted April 6 that a memo signed by Robert J. Biersner, counsel for Safety Standards in the Occupational Safety and Health Division of the Department of Labor Solicitor's Office, gives parties until 11:59 p.m. May 19 to supplement their presentations made at OSHA's public hearing on the proposed standard – a hearing that ended March 20 -- and until 11:59 p.m. June 18 to file comments about the testimony and evidence in the record.

The hearing lasted four days. Monforton, who some stakeholders hope will be named the next OSHA assistant secretary by the Obama administration, worked at OSHA from 1991 to 1995 and worked for MSHA from 1996 to 2001. She called the two-part posthearing comment period unnecessary and unfair to the families of workers who died in crane collapses and members of the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association who participated in the negotiated rulemaking process to create the proposed standard.

Her post says "it is up to OSHA leaders to clamour and make the case for fair, but swift comment periods—and to remind the public that there was already a 15-week comment period on this proposed rule (October 9 until January 22.) Now with the post-hearing notice issued last week, another 13 weeks will pass by waiting for the record to close. Will there be that much difference in the type and quality of information submitted to OSHA after 13 weeks compared to 4 weeks or 6 weeks? I doubt it."

The hearing transcript and posthearing submissions will be available in Docket NO. OSHA-2007-0066 at the federal rulemaking Web site.

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