Inside OSHA

October 22, 2019

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President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders (EOs) curtailing OSHA and other agencies’ use of guidance and other policy memos ramp up scrutiny of OSHA’s contentious approach to guidance, which has long drawn criticism, including from the agency’s inspector general (IG).

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Environmentalists are urging EPA to quickly use authority under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to address acute human health risks that exposure to the solvent chemical 1-bromopropane (1-BP) presents to workers and the very young, even before the agency finalizes its TSCA risk assessment of the substance.

President Donald Trump intends to nominate current OSHA Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission (OSHRC) member Cynthia Attwood to remain on the panel that decides challenges to citations or penalties resulting from agency inspections of workplaces, a position that she has held since February 2010.

A hazardous waste facility is urging EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) to scrap an agency-crafted Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) permit that includes OSHA worker safety requirements, arguing that EPA cannot force permittees to follow OSHA rules in RCRA permits.

Industry officials are optimistic that the White House will approve a pending final EPA rule to repeal Obama-era Risk Management Plan (RMP) facility safety requirements, and an environmentalist opposed to the effort says the agency “seems intent” on finalizing the delayed rollback.

EPA is renewing its bid to end environmental and public health groups’ efforts to obtain a court ruling on the merits of their petition asking EPA to ban drinking water fluoridation because of human health risks, in a case testing a little-used section of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) shortly after the court denied EPA’s appeal to delay a trial.

President Donald Trump has announced his intent to nominate Amanda Laihow, chief counsel of OSHA’s Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), to become a member of the review panel through April 2023, touting her long-running work on labor issues related to health, safety and anti-discrimination laws.

A staffing firm executive told House lawmakers at a recent hearing that the trend toward greater use of robots and artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace could bolster worker safety through a combination of new data-driven safeguards and shifting repetitive or weight-bearing tasks away from humans.

OSHA is floating a proposal to revise Obama-era standards for occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds in the construction and shipyards industries, saying the changes will better tailor the standards for the two sectors’ unique exposures and also improve the agency’s overall enforcement of beryllium limits.

EPA appears to be advancing a new argument to dismiss part of environmentalists’ suit over the agency’s denial of their petition to require more reporting about the uses of asbestos in the United States that could also provide a defense against a new trial in a second, nearly identical petition case from states.

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