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Brushing aside administration requests to slash agency funding, Congress appears poised to approve an omnibus spending package for OSHA and other agencies before a looming March 23 deadline, moving quickly to approve a $1.3 trillion spending bill that provides a small overall increase for OSHA.

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Responding to calls from Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), OSHA, EPA and other agencies have agreed to take steps to improve notifications to first responders when a local company is cited for serious violations involving flammable materials, likely clearing the way for OSHA nominee Scott Mugno to secure a confirmation vote.

Democrats are stepping up efforts to codify Obama-era policies requiring federal agencies to reject contractors that fail to comply with workplace safety and other labor rules on a sector-by-sector basis after President Trump and congressional Republicans rescinded a government-wide executive order (EO) that barred firms with poor safety records from receiving contracts.

Rep.-elect Conor Lamb's (D) surprise victory in last week's special election in Pennsylvania -- with significant labor union support on a platform that included strong support for worker safety rules -- is bolstering efforts by labor groups seeking to build support for the issue in upcoming 2018 elections.

Appellate court judges appear to be backing the Trump administration's authority to delay the Obama-era rule strengthening EPA's facility accident prevention program, but some are questioning why the agency needs a two-year delay, suggesting it should quickly revise a controversial provision and allow other new protections to take effect.

House Republicans are advancing legislation that seeks to require OSHA and other agencies to ease public access to their “significant” guidance documents as part of a broader regulatory review effort targeting such informal policies, but are stopping short of acting on industry calls to subject guidance to formal notice-and-comment requirements.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a new report is urging the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to push OSHA, EPA and other agencies to avoid rushing rules into effect, especially late in a president's term, in order to ensure compliance with the Congressional Review Act (CRA), though OMB doubts that there is more it can do.

Government watchdog groups are pressing Congress to consolidate and strengthen OSHA's authorities governing private sector whistleblowers, citing in part a recent case where a Labor Department (DOL) board found that EPA officials wrongfully fired an agency whistleblower who was entitled to protections.

Citing inadequate OSHA rules, labor unions are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess and strictly regulate chemicals that pose risks to workers, pushing back against industry efforts to require the agency to defer to OSHA to regulate those exposures.

Industry attorneys say they expect that employers will increasingly challenge future OSHA citations after a federal appellate court found that the agency does not have a binding look-back period for determining whether an employer repeatedly violated standards, which can carry fines 10 times higher than an initial penalty.

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The Small Business Administration's Advocacy Office is pledging to continue closely monitoring OSHA and other agencies' compliance with Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requirements to limit rules' impacts on small entities, saying such measures will further bolster the Trump administration's deregulatory efforts.

EPA has sent for White House review its draft proposed rule easing an Obama-era measure that had sought to strengthen the agency's facility accident prevention program, giving the agency less than one year to issue a final regulation by the Trump administration's self-imposed February 2019 deadline.

Senate Democrats have unveiled an alternative to the Trump administration's infrastructure plan that calls for, among other things, restoring an Obama-era executive order and related rules that barred firms with poor safety records from receiving federal infrastructure contracts.

The Trump administration is delaying by 60 days enforcement of a host of provisions of the Obama OSHA's final beryllium rule to provide additional time for the agency to finalize settlement discussions with industry groups that are challenging the measure and to ensure that stakeholders are “aware of their obligations,” the agency says.