New Standard Revisions Part of OSHA’s Plan for Improvement

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated several regulations effective July 15. The goal is to simplify employers’ jobs by clarifying and adjusting standards that may be confusing, outdated or unnecessary.

The fourth final rule under OSHA’s Standards Improvement Project revises 14 provisions to regulations that are intended to alleviate paperwork, reduce processing time and save money for employers while improving health and safety conditions for employees.

While many of the changes are simply clarifying terminology, employers are advised to review the updates to ensure that their current safety policies and procedures follow the OSHA standard.

Here is a list of revisions that may be important to review:

  1. Revisions made to the recordkeeping requirement that clarified the criteria for determining if a hearing-loss injury is work-related.
  2. Elimination of the requirement for a periodic chest X-ray for certain toxic and hazardous substances standards.
  3. Requirement for provision of the latitude and longitude of the worksite or other location-identification information in a conspicuous location in case of emergency on a remote worksite that does not have emergency services’ automatic-location capability.
  4. Minimum breaking strength for lifelines adjusted from 5,400 pounds to 5,000 pounds.
  5. Elimination of unnecessary collection and use of Social Security Numbers in agency systems and programs.

There are still several other regulatory updates in the approval process for revision; these were thoroughly addressed at the end of the Federal Register report.

The OSHA press release claims that these updates will potentially save businesses a collective estimate of $6.1 million dollars every year and will streamline many of the required safety procedures.

This is the fourth and final rule as part of the Standards Improvement Project that has been operational since 1995 as a result of a presidential memorandum to improve government regulations. The three previous revisions were made in 1998, 2005 and 2011. These final revisions were originally proposed in 2016.

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