OSHA reg seeks to simplify workplace rules

By Kimberly Atkins

The Daily Record Newswire

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is set to release a final rule streamlining and simplifying workplace safety standards while reducing employer burdens.

The goal of the new rule is ''improving and eliminating [regulations] that are confusing, outdated, duplicative or inconsistent,'' said David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, in a statement.

''OSHA estimates that the final rule, without reducing employee protection, will result in annual cost savings to employers exceeding $43 million and significant reductions in paperwork burden hours.''

The new regulation will not create any new requirements - allowing employers to comply immediately, the agency said - but it will update a number of existing standards, including: amending OSHA's existing respiratory protection standard; updating the definition of the term ''potable water'' to be consistent with the current Environmental Protection Agency standards instead of the former and outdated Public Health Service Corps definition; removing the requirement that hand dryers use warm air; updating commercial diving rules to reflect updated standards; and deleting a number of requirements for employers to transmit exposure and medical records to NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The agency said the new regulation is in line with President Barack Obama's Executive Order 13563, ''Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,'' issued Jan. 18 to streamline workplace safety regulations.

The rule will be published in the Federal Register.

Published: Mon, Jun 6, 2011

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