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Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is faulting the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board's (CSB) spending on legal fees in a dispute with the board's former managing director, saying that CSB's continued focus on the on the matter distracts from its mission of investigating facility accidents.

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OSHA is urging a district court to “disregard” recent claims from Public Citizen that it is able to detect companies that do not report worker injuries, part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit seeking the reports, arguing that the plaintiff misunderstood a recent agency statement on how it targeted enforcement against possible reporting violators.

Democrats are stepping up their efforts during Congress' lame duck session to kill House Farm Bill language that would codify a permanent waiver for retail facilities from OSHA's safety standards, though sources say that if lawmakers are unable to reach a deal on the Farm Bill this year, prospects for killing the OSHA language in 2019 would improve as Democrats will control the House.

Facing a Nov. 10 deadline to act, the Trump OSHA has issued a final rule easing Obama-era certification requirements for crane operators while also issuing interim guidance that seeks to implement the new rule's more-flexible requirements before they take effect in early December.

Top House Democrats are signaling they plan to closely scrutinize Trump administration plans to allow teens to independently operate powered patient lifts in healthcare, adding to the lengthy list of Labor Department (DOL) policies that could adversely effect worker safety that Democrats plan to address should they win back control of the House.

Democrats who are expected to win control of the House in 2019 following Nov. 6 elections are preparing for a host of oversight hearings to block planned Trump OSHA rollbacks of Obama-era rules that strengthened requirements on beryllium, recordkeeping and other measures, as well as the agency's “failure to staff up,” a Democratic staffer says.

OSHA and industry petitioners are requesting that a federal appellate court continue to hold in abeyance an industry lawsuit challenging an Obama-era update to the agency's beryllium standards to allow the Trump administration to complete a planned rule rolling back aspects of the standard in accordance with a settlement deal reached this spring.

OSHA is urging a federal court to dismiss a public interest group’s lawsuit that seeks to preserve provisions of the Obama-era injury and illness reporting rule that the Trump administration had suspended, charging the group lacks standing and that the suspensions are not judicially reviewable.

OSHA is bolstering enforcement oversight of trenching and excavation operations after a spike in worker deaths, updating its National Emphasis Program (NEP) on preventing collapses and increasing education and enforcement, though an industry official is bristling at OSHA's continued use of enforcement programs he faults for inflating OSHA penalties.

Public Citizen is seeking to bolster its push to compel release of employers' worker injury and illness data, arguing that recent OSHA statements undermine the Trump administration's claims in its lawsuit that releasing worker data through public records requests would deter reporting, and that it is unable to detect companies that do not report.

Short Takes

Labor and environmental groups challenging the Trump administration's rules for reviewing existing chemicals' risks to workers and the environment under the revised toxics law are rejecting EPA assertions that the law grants the agency broad discretion to determine the chemical uses it considers for possible regulation, charging that EPA must consider all conditions of use.

Labor and safer chemicals groups are threatening to sue EPA within 60 days in a bid to compel the agency to finalize an Obama-era proposed rule banning use of methylene chloride (MC) in paint strippers, noting that former Administrator Scott Pruitt committed to the rule.

OSHA is seeking to fill more than a dozen openings on its Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH), which seeks to inform OSHA rules governing workplace safety in maritime industries, and is one of several advisory committees to survive the Trump administration's scaling back of the committees.

OSHA is seeking a dozen nominations for an advisory committee to counsel the secretaries of labor and health and human services on occupational safety and health programs and policies, as membership has slowly dwindled on the agency’s advisory committees under the Trump administration.