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A Republican congressional staffer is raising concerns that a lack of a Trump administration appointee to head OSHA leaves lawmakers with a lack of clear priorities, highlighting uncertainty that has prompted agency officials to stop work on new initiatives and led Senate Democrats to question the administration's commitment to worker safety.

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The United Steelworkers (USW) has withdrawn its request for the Trump administration to hold a public hearing on its plan to limit the reach of an Obama OSHA rule bolstering protections for workers' exposure to beryllium, drawing concern from industry producers of alternatives to beryllium-containing products who support the Obama-era rule and fear the loss of a key ally.

A key House Democrat is pressing the Trump administration's OSHA to ensure that the agency fully staffs open inspection positions now that a federal hiring freeze has ended, reiterating concerns of Senate labor committee Democrats who have called for adequate funding for inspections and questioned the administration's commitment to worker safety.

United Steelworkers (USW) is highlighting its facility accident prevention program and calling for greater employee involvement in companies' process safety decisions, offering the principles as a potential model for overhauling OSHA's process safety management (PSM) rule even though the Trump administration has stalled a ny update.

OSHA officials in a new court filing say they have completed a draft rule revising the Obama administration's worker injury and illness reporting rule, days after a Trump Commerce Department (DOC) report urged OSHA to scrap provisions on publicizing the data and restricting employer programs, though the filing does not detail the revisions.

The Trump administration in a new report quietly issued by the Commerce Department (DOC) is targeting two major Obama OSHA rules for revision, backing industry arguments that the 2016 measures updating silica and worker injury reporting rules include unnecessary provisions that harm domestic manufacturing and should be revised.

Former OSHA official and EPA science advisor Adam Finkel is urging EPA to list the chemical n-propyl bromide (nPB) as a Clean Air Act hazardous air pollutant (HAP), citing data from OSHA and elsewhere on nPB's risks to workers that he says warrants the listing and rules to curb nPB emissions.

Following a chemical release in his state, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), is pressing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and other officials to commit to implementing the Obama EPA's overhaul of the agency's facility accident prevention program, though a Trump nominee sidestepped the call in a recent hearing.

A House committee has approved on a party-line vote a bill that would override a controversial 2015 ruling that expanded the definition of a “joint employer” subject to enforcement of labor and worker safety measures, prompting concerns from Democrats that the legislation would hamper worker protections, including workers' recourse for safety hazards.

A coalition of groups convened by NIOSH is backing several Obama-era workplace safety priorities, unveiling a draft research agenda for construction workers that supports the prior administration's controversial 2016 silica rule, which industry has urged the Trump administration to scale back, as well as other Obama priorities, including strengthening protections from electrical hazards and reducing disincentives to injury reporting.

Short Takes

Residents of West, TX, are faulting federal investigators' finding that arson caused a fire that led to a fatal 2013 fertilizer plant explosion, supporting environmentalists' claims that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt inappropriately relied on the finding to delay and possibly revise an Obama-era update to the agency's facility accident prevention rule.

The Trump administration's nominee to head EPA's air office is poised to represent industry clients in upcoming oral arguments challenging OSHA's landmark rule reducing limits for worker exposure to silica dusts, a move that is drawing criticism from a former Obama official who says it shows the Trump administration is empowering regulatory opponents to run agencies charged with protecting public health.

Despite an alert from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) experts on cyber crime, OSHA has restored access to its electronic portal for accepting companies' worker injury and illness data under the Obama administration's controversial record-keeping rule after determining that the website was not hacked.

A coalition of Democratic state attorneys general (AG) is backing environmentalists' efforts to vacate EPA's lengthy delay of an Obama-era update to the agency's facility accident prevention program, arguing the delay violates the Clean Air Act and is arbitrary and capricious because it misconstrues a federal arson finding as central to the update rule.