OSHA®, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, recently proposed a number of new rule provisions to the agency’s general industry, maritime, construction and recordkeeping standards.

The proposed changes are an effort to modernize OSHA standards, while saving employers millions of dollars per year. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels says that, if implemented, the new provisions will “help employers better understand their responsibilities, increase compliance and reduce compliance costs."


This blog post will take a look at the first nine of these proposed changes.

A Breakdown of Proposed Rule Changes

  1. Reporting job-related hearing loss
    • The proposed revision codifies current enforcement policy and clarifies that, when making a determination regarding whether an employee’s hearing loss is work-related, the decision must be made using specific criteria, which will be outlined in OSHA regulations.
  2. Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)
    • The current rule requiring protections against the “unexpected energization” of machinery during servicing will be revised in the new provision. Specifically, the word “unexpected” will be removed. OSHA feels this will best reflect their original intentions.
  3. Chest X-Ray (CXR) Requirements
    • To be consistent with current medical practices and reduce employer burden, the proposed revision would see OSHA remove the requirement for periodic chest x-rays in the standards for coke oven emissions, inorganic arsenic and acrylonitrile.
  4. X-Ray Storage
    • The proposed revision now allows for the storage of x-rays in digital formats.
  5. Lung-function testing
    • In an effort to make the provision consistent with current medical standards, the revision would update the lung-function testing (spirometry) requirements for the cotton dust standard.
  6. Feral Cats
    • In this proposal, OSHA would remove “feral cats” from the definition of vermin, as it relates to Shipyard Employment maintaining workplaces in a manner that prevents vermin infestation.
  7. 911 Emergency Services at Worksites
    • Construction regulations presently require employers to post telephone numbers for first responders at worksites where 911 service is unavailable. Due to the advancement in cell phones, the proposed revision would require to post location information at worksites in areas that do not have Enhanced 911.
  8. Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs)
    • In an effort to make the standard consistent with other PELs standards issued by the agency, OSHA is proposing that the construction PELs requirements be corrected and clarified.
  9. Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals
    • OSHA proposes to replace the regulatory text for the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (PSM) Standard for construction with a cross reference to the general industry standard, which is identical.

What's Next and How Can Your Company Stay Up-to-Date

OSHA’s numerous proposals and rule changes have left many companies struggling to keep up. That is why it’s now more important than ever for organizations to adopt a quality OSHA-compliant safety incentive program from a partner that actively monitors changes to OSHA’s guidelines.

Our next blog entry will focus on the nine remaining provisions that OSHA hopes to enact in the near future. To make sure you stay up to date on OSHA -- and all things related to workplace safety -- be sure to sign up for our blog.

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