U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis

Solis, Barab: Adding MSD Column to 300 Log Doesn't Foreshadow Ergo Rule

Today's online chats by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and OSH Acting Assistant Secretary Jordan Barab tell us they are not planning an ergonomics rulemaking, although a column to log MSDs on the 300 log will be restored.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Acting OSH Assistant Secretary Jordan Barab have taken questions from reporters and the public today about the new regulatory agenda issued by DOL earlier today. At this Web site, they and leaders of MSHA, the Office of Labor-Management Standards, the Wage and Hour Division, the Employment and Training Administration, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration will host chats through Wednesday to discuss the various rules now in development.

Both Solis and Barab were asked whether an item in the agenda to add a musculoskeletal disorders column to OSHA's 300 injury and illness log is a forerunner of a new ergonomics standard. Both said it is not; adding the column merely restores the log to what was intended when OSHA adopted the revised recordkeeping rule in 2001, they said.

Barab also said OSHA expects to issue its long-awaited final cranes and derricks construction rule in July 2010.

The OSHA portion of DOL's agenda lists a diacetyl standard, with the next action being the October 2010 start of a peer review of the health effects and risk assessment for a standard governing workers' exposure to the food flavoring chemical.

Under Solis, the department has been trying to boost job creation, provide training to jobless workers, and target wage and hour violations aggressively. Joe Main, the MSHA assistant secretary, may be announcing new regulatory action to address miners' exposures to coal dust. He announced new efforts against black lung on Dec. 3, including long-awaited regulatory approval of coal miners' personal dust monitors, but did not promise a lower PEL, according to press reports.

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