OSHA Sees Significant Savings from Updated Regs

The final rule will take effect July 8 and will save employers more than $45 million annually, according to OSHA.

The items included in OSHA's final rule updating some of its standards may not be big individually, but collectively they will reduce the paper work burden on covered employers by 1.85 million hours while saving them more than $45 million annually, the agency announced. The rule is the Phase III of the Standards Improvement Project, the third in a series of rulemaking actions to improve and streamline OSHA standards. The earlier phases were issued in 1998 and 2005.

Specific elements of this new rule:

OSHA revised 29 CFR part 1910.35 to incorporate by reference the most current version of the National Fire Protection Association's Life Safety Code and added a second compliance alternative. In 29 CFR 1910 subpart I, OSHA deleted requirements that employers prepare and maintain written training certification records. "OSHA does not believe that the training certification records required by the four standards provide a safety or health benefit to employees, nor are the burden hours and cost to employers justified," according to the rule. The standards are the general industry Personal Protective Equipment standard (1910.132); the shipyard employment PPE standard (1915.152); and general industry and construction cadmium standards (1910.1027 and 1926.1127).

Seven changes have been made in the respiratory protection standard (1910.134). One clarifies which breathing-gas containers employers must provide; OSHA deleted duplicative and inconsistent statements in Appendix D and in the asbestos standard for shipyards (1915.1001) and construction (1926.1101) and also removed the requirement to keep fit testing records from the 1,3-Butadiene standard (1910.1051 (m)(3)).

In subpart J, OSHA updated the definition of "potable water" in the sanitation standards for general industry and construction (1910.141(a)(2) and 1926.51(a)(6)), and the field sanitation standard for agriculture (1928.110(b)). The agency revised the bloodborne pathogens standard by removing the word "hot" from the definition of "handwashing facilities" in 1910.1030(b) in the phrase "hot air drying machines" to allow employers to use new technologies, such as high-velocity air blowers, in the workplace.

And OSHA has updated its standards on slings for general industry (1910.184); shipyard employment (1915.112, 1915.113, and 1915.118), and construction (1926.251). Employers now must use slings with permanently affixed identification markings that depict the maximum load capacity.

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