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• Publication Date: 12/12/1997
• Publication Type: Proposed Rules
• Fed Register #: 62:65388-65389
• Standard Number: 1910
• Title: Occupational Exposure to Tuberculosis

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1910

[Docket No. H-371]

RIN 1218-AB46

Occupational Exposure to Tuberculosis

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor

ACTION: Proposed rule; extension of comment period; rescheduling of the informal public hearings in Washington D.C.; announcement of additional hearings sites.


SUMMARY: On October 17, 1997, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published in the Federal Register its proposed standard for occupational exposure to tuberculosis (62 FR 54160). An informal public hearing was scheduled for Washington, D.C., and deadlines were set for submission of public comments, Notices of Intention to Appear at the hearing, and documentary evidence from parties requesting more than 10 minutes for their hearing presentations. With this notice, OSHA is extending those deadlines, rescheduling the Washington, D.C., hearings to begin April 7, 1998, and adding three hearing sites.

DATES: Written comments on the proposed standard and Notices of Intention to Appear at the hearings must be postmarked on or before February 13, 1998.

Testimony and documentary evidence from parties requesting more than 10 minutes for their presentations at the hearings must be submitted no later than February 27, 1998.

The hearings will begin April 7, 1998, in Washington, D.C., starting at 10:00 a.m. on the first day and at 9:00 a.m. on succeeding days. Public hearings will also be held in Los Angeles, CA, and Chicago, IL, and New York City, NY. The dates and locations of these additional hearings will be published in the Federal Register at a later date.

ADDRESSES: Comments on the proposed standard, Notices of Intention to Appear at the hearings, testimony, and documentary evidence are to be submitted in quadruplicate to the Docket Officer, Docket No. H-371, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210, telephone (202) 219-7894. Comments of 10 pages or fewer may be transmitted by fax to (202) 219-5046, provided the original and three copies are sent to the Docket Officer thereafter.

All material related to the development of this proposed standard will be available for inspection and copying in the Docket Office Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

The hearing location for Washington, D.C., is the Frances Perkins Building Auditorium, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW. The hearing locations and dates for Los Angeles, CA, and Chicago, IL and New York City, NY will be announced at a later date.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bonnie Friedman, Office of Information and Consumer Affairs, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210, Telephone (202) 219-8148, FAX (202) 219-5986.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OSHA proposed a new standard for occupational exposure to tuberculosis on October 17, 1997 (62 FR 54160). The deadline for submitting written comments was December 16, 1997. On November 5, 1997, five organizations representing more than 4 million individuals and 5,300 facilities potentially affected by the proposed standard, collectively requested that OSHA consider extending the public comment period by a minimum of 30 days. Citing the complexity and the far-reaching implications of the proposed standard, these organizations stated that they believed that the current deadline of December 16, 1997, provided insufficient time for a thorough examination and consideration of the important issues. A similar request was made by the American Medical Association, which urged OSHA to extend the deadline to allow sufficient time for a complete and thoughtful analysis of the proposed TB standard.

OSHA considers the testimony to be offered by these organizations to be important and necessary for the development of the final rule. In addition, OSHA recognizes that other parties that will be affected by the rulemaking may need more time to prepare their comments and testimony. In order to accommodate these organizations and others, OSHA has extended the comment period and has rescheduled the informal public hearings in Washington, D.C.

The deadline for written comments and Notices of Intention to Appear at the informal public hearings is being extended from December 16, 1997, to February 13, 1998. The deadline for submission of testimony for parties requesting more than 10 minutes at the public hearings or submitting documentary evidence is being extended from December 31, 1997, to February 27, 1998. The hearing presently scheduled to begin on February 3, 1998 in Washington, D.C., is being rescheduled to begin on April 7, 1998.

In addition to the informal public hearings in Washington D.C., three sites are being added: Chicago, IL, and Los Angeles, CA, and New York City, NY. Because the proposed standard will impact employees and employers across the nation, the Agency believes that is appropriate to hold public hearings at additional sites in order to give parties who may not be able to attend the hearings in Washington, D.C., an opportunity to participate in the public hearing process. OSHA has found that the hearings provide an important forum for interested parties to submit their comments and concerns on OSHA's proposed rulemakings and that the hearings provide the Agency with valuable information in developing its final standards.

Public Participation

Persons desiring to participate at the hearings must submit four copies of a Notice of Intention to Appear containing the following information:

(1) The name, address, and telephone number of each person to appear;

(2) The hearing site that the party is requesting to attend;

(3) The capacity in which the person will appear;

(4) The approximate amount of time requested for the presentation;

(5) The specific issues that will be addressed;

(6) A detailed statement of the position that will be taken with respect to each issue addressed;

(7) Whether the party intends to submit documentary evidence, and if so, a brief summary of that evidence; and

(8) Whether the party wishes to testify on the days set aside to focus on homeless shelters.

A tentative schedule of appearances at the hearings will be prepared and distributed to parties who have submitted Notices of Intention to Appear so parties will know when issues that concern them are likely to be raised at the hearing.

Filing of Testimony and Evidence Before Hearings

Any party requesting more than 10 minutes for a presentation at the hearing, or who will present documentary evidence, must submit four copies of the complete text of the testimony, including any documentary evidence to be presented at the hearing to the Docket Officer at the above address.

Each submission will be reviewed in light of the amount of time requested in the Notice of Intention to Appear. In those instances where the information contained in the submission does not justify the amount of time requested, a more appropriate amount of time will be allocated and the participant will be notified of that fact.

Any party who has not substantially complied with this requirement may be limited to a 10-minute presentation. Any party who has not filed a Notice of Intention to Appear may be allowed to testify, as time permits, at the discretion of the Administrative Law Judge.

OSHA emphasizes that the hearing is open to the public, and that interested persons are welcome to attend. However, only persons who have filed Notices of Intention to Appear will be entitled to ask questions and otherwise participate fully in the proceeding.

Authority

This document has been prepared under the direction of Charles N. Jeffress, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, D.C. 20210.

It is issued under section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety Health Act (29 U.S.C. 655), Secretary of Labor's Order 6-96, (62 FR 111) and 29 CFR Part 1911.

Signed at Washington, D.C. on this 9th day of December, 1997.

Charles N. Jeffress,
Assistant Secretary of Labor.

[FR Doc. 97-32546 Filed 12-9-97; 3:59 pm)


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