Subscriber Login


EPA is planning to consider workers' exposures to existing chemicals when it assesses substances' risks for possible regulation under the revised toxics law, noting that OSHA has acknowledged that its exposure limits for many chemicals are “outdated and inadequate.”

Latest News

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is urging a federal court to reject environmentalists' suit seeking to require a rule mandating facilities report their accidental releases, charging, among other things, that the plaintiffs lack standing, though CSB says that if the court requires such a rule it may be “difficult” given administration plans to kill the agency.

EPA is faulting environmentalists' claims that a recent ruling vacating a highway agency's penalty delay backs their suit seeking to scrap the Trump administration's delay of an Obama-era update to EPA's facility safety program, arguing that the Clean Air Act grants EPA authority to set rules' effective dates, and that it sought input prior to issuing the delay.

House Republican appropriators have rejected Democratic efforts to restore funding for OSHA in fiscal year 2019, prompting renewed criticism from Democrats that the Trump administration and their House GOP supporters are not adequately protecting workers, though companion Senate legislation seeks to increase OSHA funds in FY19.

In response to the growing concerns about sexual harassment in the workplace, labor groups are launching a network aimed at mobilizing grassroots efforts to push for stronger regional OSHA enforcement over especially vulnerable workers in sectors such as healthcare, house keeping and farming, just as OSHA begins considering the issue.

Labor supporters are concerned that President Donald Trump's just-announced Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, has often ruled in favor of employers in OSHA cases during his appellate court tenure, sparking fears that the conservative jurist will continue to express a “hostility” to the agency if confirmed to the high court.

Senators are urging the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to gather more information, more frequently about the scope of the contingent workforce, underscoring concerns by labor advocates and Democrats who are pushing legislation to better protect workers classified as “independent contractors” in the so-called on-demand economy.

As OSHA struggles to limit heat risks to workers, a just-released report from NIOSH says the agency's current guidance regarding occupational heat stress may not be sufficiently protective, and is urging employers to take a more conservative approach just as temperatures continue to rise in the summer season.

Lawmakers are split over the potential effects on OSHA stemming from the Trump administration's plan to merge the Departments of Education (DOE) and Labor (DOL), with Republicans urging officials to use any merger to bolster states' funding and oversight responsibilities while Democrats fear it will curb workplace safety enforcement.

A labor safety group and North Carolina are questioning EPA's proposed approval of an alternative method for removal of asbestos-containing cement (A/C) pipe, which they say may be impractical to achieve and violate OSHA standards.

Short Takes

Labor and public health groups, backed by two former OSHA chiefs, are petitioning OSHA to craft a national heat stress standard to protect workers with new requirements including that employers provide rest breaks, water and shade, arguing that current enforcement is inadequate, and that climate change threatens to worsen heat-related dangers.

Democrats are seeking to block President Donald Trump's July 10 executive order (EO) allowing for expedited approval of administrative law judges (ALJs) at OSHA, EPA and other agencies, charging that the proposal would politicize the hiring process and undermine the qualifications for such judges.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is pressing Labor Department (DOL) Secretary Alex Acosta for data on OSHA enforcement efforts and inspector staffing, citing reports of declining worker safety enforcement under the Trump administration and a recent uptick in worker deaths on the job.

Environmentalists and others challenging EPA's delay of an Obama-era rule adding new requirements to the agency's Risk Management Plan (RMP) program say a recent appellate court ruling backs their claim that the Trump administration's reconsideration of the RMP update rule is not grounds to delay that regulation.