Several new rules coming within a year, OSHA says

Employers could see a column for musculoskeletal disorder-related injuries on OSHA 300 logs this time next year and a final rule on hazard communication by August, according to OSHA staff.

This announcement was made during a Jan. 5 webchat concerning the release of OSHA’s semiannual regulatory agenda.

Additionally, OSHA plans to publish final rules this year on:
• Confined spaces in construction
• General working conditions for shipyards
• Electric power transmission
• Standards improvement

The proposed combustible dust standard is expected to begin its Small Businesses Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act panel review in April, a procedure that takes about 120 days. OSHA is “very committed” to publishing the rule, and agency staff said they will “work as expeditiously as possible.”

In lieu of a standard, OSHA has been using the General Duty Clause to enforce combustible dust hazards. Staff said the agency was increasing its use of the clause to enforce several recognized hazards, regardless of the presence of a standard.

The injury and illness prevention program standard remains in the pre-rule stage, with a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness (SBREFA) Act of 1996 review set for June. New regulations added to the agenda in the pre-rule stage include reinforcing and post-tensioned steel construction, and backing operations.