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Labor Secretary (DOL) Alex Acosta is defending the Trump administration's plan to cut OSHA enforcement funds in favor of compliance assistance, arguing that assisting companies may yield greater workplace safety results in certain cases.

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The Trump administration is proposing to limit the reach of the Obama OSHA's final beryllium rule by stripping protections from the rule's oversight of the construction and shipyard sectors while retaining the new exposure limit for the sectors, arguing that the Obama rule is based on limited data on how other standards protect workers in the sectors.

Environmental and labor groups are asking a federal court to stay EPA's nearly two-year delay of an Obama-era rule strengthening the agency's facility accident prevention program, charging the delay is “plainly illegal” under the Clean Air Act and would irreparably harm their interests given past agency findings that chemical accidents continue to occur.

Labor groups are seeking to intervene in support of environmentalists' challenge to the Trump administration's lengthy delay of an Obama-era facility safety rule, arguing that the delay irreparably harms workers and that environmentalists may not fully represent workers, who have a “distinct perspective” on the facilities where they work.

Critics of EPA's proposed ban on certain uses of trichlorothylene (TCE) are faulting the Obama administration's conclusion that TCE causes human cancers and are calling on the Trump administration to assess new data from worker safety studies released since EPA's 2011 Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) review of the chemical.

Public health groups are seeking to intervene in industry's lawsuit challenging the Obama OSHA's May 2016 final rule overhauling the agency's worker injury and illness reporting program, charging the Trump administration likely will not defend a provision calling for public disclosure of injury data, which the groups say is mandatory.

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has completed review of a Trump administration proposed rule widely expected to weaken an Obama OSHA regulation that strengthened protections for worker exposure to beryllium, possibly by stripping the construction and maritime industries from the rule's scope.

A coalition of environmental and public interest groups are challenging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's recently-issued rule delaying for an additional 20 months the agency's Obama-era facility safety regulation, and appear slated to argue that the lengthy delay violates federal law and will put workers and communities at risk of future disasters.

Chemical industry groups are urging NIOSH to clarify that a draft chemicals classification guide that allows users to assess workers' risks to substances that lack exposure limits with limited data will not be used to strengthen standards for other chemicals or replace OSHA standards, though a labor group says the process could inform future regulation.

Labor unions are defending their claim that they have a right to intervene in an industry lawsuit challenging the Obama administration's final rule updating the agency's worker injury and illness reporting regulation, fearing the Trump administration will not adequately represent their interests in a rule that provides “specific, new rights” for workers.

Short Takes

The Trump administration has announced that it will seek to revise the Obama OSHA's controversial final rule updating the agency's worker injury and illness reporting regulation, proposing to delay that regulation's initial reporting deadline by five months after the agency has been slow in launching an electronic portal for collecting the data.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has set oral argument in the complex litigation challenging the Obama OSHA's landmark final rule seeking to protect workers from exposure to silica, which industry groups have argued is overly strict and labor unions have petitioned the court to strengthen in some respects.

A recent survey of OSHA and state enforcement efforts in the retail sector has found violations of hazard communications standards (HCS) are the most cited health and safety violations trailed by citations for electrical standards, power industrial truck rules and then maintenance, safeguards and operational features for exit routes.

The Commerce Department is slated to issue this week a report to the White House targeting OSHA and other agencies' rules that burden manufacturers, an administration official tells Reuters, a document that is expected to target Obama-era limits for worker exposures to silica and beryllium, among others.