Long OSHA rulemaking process gives everyone a voice

Last time, I wrote about the standards-writing process in OSHA. This article will pick up the discussion where I left off, with the proposed rule published and OSHA staff ready for comments on their work. Concurrent with sending the proposed rule to the Federal Register for printing, OSHA must also send copies to the Small Business Administration, OSHA Regional Offices and State Plan states.

06/01/2006


Last time, I wrote about the standards-writing process in OSHA. This article will pick up the discussion where I left off, with the proposed rule published and OSHA staff ready for comments on their work.

Concurrent with sending the proposed rule to the Federal Register for printing, OSHA must also send copies to the Small Business Administration, OSHA Regional Offices and State Plan states. Additionally, a package outlining the paperwork requirements for the rule is sent to the Office of Management and Budget.

The public comment phase of rulemaking is next in the process. Generally, the proposed standards allow somewhere from 30 to 90 days for public comment, depending on the complexity of the rule. Realistically, it often takes much longer for the initial public comment period to end, because OSHA usually honors requests for extension of the comment period, and there usually are several requests for an extension. Many employers explain that they need additional time to evaluate and discuss the proposed rule internally, or to collect supporting data for their comments. The agency benefits from well-considered, thoughtful comments on proposed standards; therefore extensions are often granted.

OSHA reviews and evaluates initial comments once received. Often, employers request a public hearing, such as the recent hearing on proposed electric power generation, transmission, and distribution; electrical protective equipment standard that I mentioned in the last article. And, there are instances when more than one public hearing is necessary.

These forums provide OSHA and employers the mutual opportunity to ask questions in a setting that allows follow-up questions. These follow-up questions help to illuminate issues and, sometimes, eliminate misunderstandings, for both sides. OSHA has often held these public hearings in locations around the country to allow a greater number of employers to participate.

Post-hearing evaluation

When the hearings are complete, which can take several months if multiple hearings in different locations are needed, OSHA personnel evaluate post-hearing briefs, testimony and comments received. The proposed rule is then modified if the evidence is sufficient to warrant a change. Sometimes, there are unresolved issues or new issues that are discovered through the comment and review process. This may require that the record be reopened to gather additional comments or information.

When the public comment period and post-hearing comment periods are complete, and the record closed and certified, OSHA continues drafting the new final rule. This involves several layers of technical and legal review. Additionally, the economic analysis, feasibility analysis, and risk assessment will be updated during this time, once the final regulatory language is determined. An updated OSHA estimate of the amount of paperwork that a regulation will require of an employer, called a paperwork burden package, is developed also.

The paperwork package and a copy of the final rule will go again to OMB. Sometimes OMB will ask for changes, and the draft regulation will be revised and resubmitted for approval. OSHA also prepares a compliance guide for the SBA as required under the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Once all the approvals are received, the document is ready to be signed by the OSHA administrator. The rule is sent to the Federal Register for publication, and copies are sent to the states and OSHA Regional Offices.





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me