Better Late than Never: Fall 2012 Regulatory Agenda Released

Published January 9, 2013

On Dec. 24, the federal government finally released its fall 2012 semiannual regulatory agenda, the first official statement of the government’s rulemaking priorities in a year. Required by law to be published every six months, the agenda states expectations of when key elements of the rulemaking process are expected to be completed.

The agenda shows that OSHA’s priorities have changed little since 2011, with several rules in the same stage of rulemaking. The injury and illness prevention program (I2P2) rule and the “review/lookback of OSHA chemical standards” related to revising the agency’s outdated permissible exposure limits (PELs) remain in the prerule stage, the earliest stage of rulemaking. OSHA’s agenda notes that the small-business review for I2P2 is expected to be completed this month and projects a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in December 2013. However, the agency’s review of chemical standards has been pushed back; OSHA’s projected date for issuing a request for information has been delayed to May of this year.

The Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica standard is still in the proposed rule stage. The NPRM  for silica, previously forecast to be released in February 2012, is now expected in May 2013. The silica standard has been delayed at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for over a year.

A final rule on confined spaces in construction, previously slated for completion in June 2012, is now expected to be completed in July 2013. The rule would extend protection of employees who enter confined spaces to construction workers, who are not covered by the existing standard.

There has been some movement from the agency on combustible dust and occupational exposure to beryllium. Both issues were listed as “long-term actions” on the previous regulatory agenda. The combustible dust standard has moved into the prerule stage, and OSHA expects to initiate the small-business review this October. The beryllium standard is now in the proposed rule stage, and the agency projects to release an NPRM in July 2013.

View DOL’s complete regulatory agenda as a PDF on Regulations.gov, or view the fall 2012 agency rule list, which includes links to each specific rule for further information.