Comments and votes are being accepted on the DOL online portal until April 8.

Time's Running Out to Comment on Existing DOL Regs

The Labor Department opened an online portal March 16 to accept comments about its existing significant regulations. The opportunity will end April 8.

The U.S. Labor Department's online portal to accept public comments about its existing significant regulations has been open for about three weeks. The site indicates 850 people had registered and 1,244 votes had been submitted about 17 comments as of Saturday afternoon; the final day for comments is April 8, according to DOL. Sixty ideas also had been submitted by Saturday afternoon.

Comments leading in votes on Saturday afternoon concerned ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, an important federal law setting standards for pension and health plans in private industry. The portal's address is www.dol.gov/regulations/regreview.htm, but the address where comments are posted and available and vote totals posted is http://dolregs.ideascale.com/.

DOL says the portal is meant to be a "starting point for discussion of the criteria that can be used to prioritize its regulatory review," which is being made in response to President Obama's Executive Order 13563 on improving regulation and regulatory review.

One of the few comments concerning OSHA or MSHA is this one: "On 9/2/04, my father was involved in a workplace incident that eventually took his life. OSHA investigated and cited my father's employer for 7 serious and 1 willful violation. The case was settled for a $102,500 fine! My father was taken from us way too soon all because of a willful violation with a $102,500 fine for a company that had net income for 2004 of $15.7 billion. Fines and penalties must be adjusted for inflation and be large enough to deter practices that put workers lives at risk. The average fine for a worker fatality is $5,000 and on average 14 workers die on the job every day."

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