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Environmentalists' lawsuit challenging EPA's framework for reviewing new chemicals' risks, including to workers, appears to face legal hurdles because it challenges a policy that is not yet final but it nevertheless appears to have dissuaded the agency from following the novel process it floated last year to speed chemical reviews, industry and environmental attorneys say.

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The House has unanimously approved a bill that would create an advisory committee to provide recommendations to the Labor Department (DOL) on ways to limit the impact of opioids on workplace safety, though in a nod to GOP fears about new regulations, the panel's jurisdiction is limited to providing “informational resources and best practices.”

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) in a new report is faulting OSHA for scaling back enforcement in the first years of the Trump administration, arguing that enforcement is continuing to decline at an “accelerated pace,” despite the agency's recent touting of an uptick in inspection numbers in fiscal year (FY) 2017 over the prior year.

Despite plans to advance an Obama-era proposal to regulate a paint stripping chemical under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), recently released EPA documents suggest the agency will not soon pursue other proposed TSCA rules restricting uses of two other substances blamed for risks to workers, a move that is worrying environmentalists.

Democratic appropriators are signaling that they will offer a series of amendments to pending fiscal year 2019 funding legislation for the Labor Department and other agencies that they say will bolster funding for OSHA and remove “poison pill” policy provisions.

As the Trump administration works to roll back the Obama-era rule strengthening EPA's facility accident prevention program, House Democrats are seeking to codify portions of the rule in pending legislation renewing the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) facility security program and incorporate some of its provisions into any future DHS program.

OSHA has scaled back its termination procedures for participants in the agency's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), narrowing conditions spelled out in a 2013 Obama-era policy for when participating sites must be removed from the program that is designed to recognize exemplary workplace safety and health efforts.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is urging lawmakers to bolster chemical information sharing between facilities and communities even as EPA is proposing to scrap some of the provisions of the Obama-era final rule updating its facility accident prevention program that would bolster such sharing of facility data.

Labor and other groups are asking a federal court to quickly require the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) to issue a rule requiring chemical facilities to report their accidental releases following an incident, arguing they have standing to bring their case and that a slew of government documents establish a record of CSB's inaction.

OSHA's review commission appears split over when and how the agency can use its general duty clause powers to cite employers for hazards not covered by the agency's standards, suggesting that the outcome of two pending cases under review may not provide clear indications of how regulators may proceed in the future.

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The House has narrowly approved a Farm Bill with language codifying OSHA's Process Safety Management (PSM) rule's exemption for retail facilities, an issue that roiled the Obama administration, though the Senate does not appear to likely to adopt similar language in its bill.

The Supreme Court has ruled that administrative law judges (ALJ) at the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) are considered “inferior officers” of the United States and are thus subject to presidential nominations, opening the door to reconsideration of past proceedings at some agencies, such as EPA, though not likely at OSHA, observers say.

OSHA is extending the comment period on its proposed rulemaking seeking to expand and clarify requirements for employers to verify crane operators training and certification requirements in response to calls from several large industry trade groups seeking additional time to address concerns that the plan is overly burdensome.

House appropriators are proposing to cut OSHA's funds in fiscal year 2019 at levels slightly below those requested by the Trump administration while also seeking to scrap the agency's Susan Harwood training grants as requested by the White House and conservative groups.