Construction Confined Space Final Rule on OSHA's 2013 Agenda

Several significant regulatory actions are planned for this fiscal year, according to the semiannual regulatory agenda published Jan. 8.

The biggest rulemaking action OSHA plans to accomplish this year is issuing a final rule on construction confined space safety. The general industry standard, 29 CFR 1910.146, has never been extended to construction because construction sites are unique and their hazards change, but the agency has been working on a construction rule for about a decade and intends to issue the final rule in July 2013, according to the semiannual regulatory agenda published Jan. 8.

Another final rule listed in the agenda is expected sooner, in March 2013 -– an updated construction standard on electrical protective equipment worn during the construction of electric power transmission and distribution lines, as well as amending the general industry standard so that requirements for maintenance work on electric power transmission and distribution installations are the same as for similar work in construction. In addition, this final rule addresses fall protection in aerial lifts for work on power generation, transmission, and distribution installations.

One item on the agenda is listed as long term, with next action undetermined. It is the proposed rule that would protect workers from occupational exposures to food flavorings containing diacetyl and diacetal substitutes. NIOSH is developing a criteria document on such exposures, and the agenda says OSHA will rely on parts of NIOSH's document for the health effects analysis and quantitative risk assessment for its own rulemaking.

If the agenda's dates prove accurate, OSHA will issue notices of proposed rulemaking in May 2013 for occupational exposure to crystalline silica and in July 2013 for occupational exposure to beryllium.

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