Federal Registers - Table of Contents Federal Registers - Table of Contents
• Publication Date: 12/06/2012
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 77: 72781-72783
• Standard Number: 1910; 1926; 1911; 1910.134; 1910.1018; 1910.1029; 1926.103; 1926.201; 1926.202; 1926.601; 1926.602; 1926.503(b); 1926.552; 1926.650(b); 1910 Subpart E; 1926 Subpart G; 1926 Subpart M; 1926 Subpart O; 1926 Subpart S
• Title: Standards Improvement Project--Phase IV

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 235 (Thursday, December 6, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 72781-72783]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-29514]

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Parts 1910 and 1926

[Docket No. OSHA-2012-0007]
RIN 1218-AC67

Standards Improvement Project--Phase IV

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

ACTION: Request for information.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: OSHA is initiating a regulatory review of its existing safety 
and health standards in response to the President's Executive Order 
13563, "Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review" (76 FR 38210). 
The Agency conducted similar regulatory reviews of its existing 
standards previously as "standards improvement projects." OSHA is 
issuing this request for information to initiate another of these 
regulatory reviews, and naming this review the Standards Improvement 
Project--Phase IV (SIP-IV). The purpose of SIP-IV is to improve and 
streamline OSHA standards by removing or revising requirements that are 
confusing or outdated, or that duplicate, or are inconsistent with, 
other standards. The purpose of the regulatory review is to reduce 
regulatory burden while maintaining or enhancing employees' safety and 
health. SIP-IV will focus primarily on OSHA's construction standards. 
The purpose of this notice is to invite the public, including 
employers, employees, and employee representatives involved in the 
construction industry, to submit recommendations for revisions to 
existing construction standards, including the rationale for these 
recommendations. OSHA will review this information to determine the 
need for, and the content of, any subsequent SIP-IV rulemaking.

DATES: Submit comments and additional material by February 4, 2013. All 
submissions must bear a postmark or provide other evidence of the 
submission date.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments and additional material using any of the 
following methods:
    Electronically: Submit comments and attachments electronically via 
the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the instructions online for making electronic submissions.
    Facsimile (FAX): Commenters may fax submissions, including any 
attachments, that are no longer than 10 pages in length to the OSHA 
Docket Office at (202) 693-1648; OSHA does not require hard copies of 
these documents. Commenters must submit lengthy attachments that 
supplement these documents (e.g., studies, journal articles) to the 
OSHA Docket Office, Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, U.S. Department 
of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20210. These 
attachments must clearly identify the commenter's name, date, subject, 
and docket number (i.e., OSHA-2012-0007) so the Agency can attach them 
to the appropriate comments.
    Regular mail, express mail, hand (courier) delivery, or messenger 
service. Submit a copy of comments and any additional material (e.g., 
studies, journal articles) to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-
2012-0007, Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of 
Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: 
(202) 693-2350 (TDY number: (877) 889-5627). Note that security 
procedures may result in significant delays in receiving comments and 
other written materials by regular mail. Contact the OSHA Docket Office 
for information about security procedures concerning delivery of 
materials by express mail, hand delivery, or messenger service. The 
hours of operation for the OSHA Docket Office are 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m., 
e.t.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Agency name 
and the docket number for this rulemaking (i.e., OSHA-2012-0007). OSHA 
places all submissions, including any personal information provided, in 
the public docket without change; this information will be available 
online at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, the Agency cautions 
commenters about submitting information they do not want made available 
to the public, or submitting comments that contain personal information 
(either about themselves or others) such as Social Security numbers, 
birth dates, and medical data.
    Docket: To read or download submissions or other material in the 
docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, or contact the OSHA Docket 
Office at the address listed above. While the Agency lists all 
documents in the docket in the http://www.regulations.gov index, some 
information (e.g., copyrighted material) is not publicly available to 
read or download through this Web site. All submissions, including 
copyrighted material, are accessible at the OSHA Docket Office. Contact 
the OSHA Docket Office for assistance in locating docket submissions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
    Press inquiries: Contact Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA Office of 
Communications, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution 
Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-1999; email: 
meilinger.francis2@dol.gov.
    General and technical information: Contact Dayton Eckerson, Office 
of Construction Standards and Guidance, OSHA Directorate of 
Construction, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., 
Room N-3468, Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-1731; fax: 
(202) 693-1689; email: eckerson.dayton@dol.gov.
    Copies of this Federal Register notice. Electronic copies are 
available at http://www.regulations.gov. This Federal Register notice, 
as well as news releases and other relevant information, also are 
available at OSHA's Web page at http://www.osha.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. Background
II. Request for Information, Data, and Comments
    A. Eliminate Unnecessary Paperwork
    B. Clarify Employer Duties and Eliminate Unnecessary Employer 
Duties
    C. Update Standards and Eliminate Inconsistencies or Duplication 
Between Standards
    D. Miscellaneous Revisions
    E. Submitting Recommendations
III. Authority and Signature

I. Background

    The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to identify 
provisions in OSHA standards that are confusing or outdated, or that 
duplicate, or are inconsistent with, the provisions of other standards, 
either OSHA standards or the standards of other agencies. Improving 
OSHA standards will increase employers' understanding of their 
obligations, which will lead to increased compliance, improve employee 
safety and health, and reduce compliance costs.
    In 1995, in response to a Presidential memorandum to improve 
government regulation,\1\ OSHA began a series of rulemakings designed 
to revise or remove standards that were confusing, outdated, 
duplicative, or inconsistent. In the first rulemaking, known as 
"Standards Improvement Project, Phase I" (SIP-I), OSHA focused on 
revising standards that were out of date, duplicative, or inconsistent. 
OSHA published the final SIP-I rule on 
June 18, 1998 (63 FR 33450).\2\ Two additional rounds of SIP rulemaking 
followed, with final SIP rules published in 2005 (SIP-II) and 2011 
(SIP-III).\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Clinton, W.J. Memorandum for Heads of Departments and 
Agencies. Subject: Regulatory Reinvention Initiative. March 4, 1995.
    \2\ Revisions made by the SIP-I rulemaking included adjustments 
to the medical-surveillance and emergency-response provisions of the 
Coke Oven Emissions, Inorganic Arsenic, and Vinyl Chloride 
standards, and removal of unnecessary provisions from the Temporary 
Labor Camps standard and the textile industry standards.
    \3\ In the final SIP-II rulemaking published in 2005 (70 FR 
1111), OSHA revised a number of provisions in its health and safety 
standards identified as needing improvement either by the Agency or 
by commenters during the SIP-I rulemaking. The final SIP-III rule, 
published in 2011 (76 FR 33590), updated consensus standards 
incorporated by reference in several OSHA rules, deleted provisions 
in a number of OSHA standards that required employers to prepare and 
maintain written training-certification records for personal 
protective equipment, revised several sanitation standards to permit 
hand drying by high-velocity dryers, and modified OSHA's sling 
standards to require that employers use only appropriately marked or 
tagged slings for lifting capacities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As stated above, the President's Executive Order 13563, "Improving 
Regulations and Regulatory Review," sets out the goals and criteria 
for regulatory review, and requires agencies to review existing 
standards and regulations to ensure that these standards and 
regulations continue to protect public health, welfare, and safety 
effectively, while promoting economic growth and job creation. The EO 
encourages agencies to use the best, least burdensome means to achieve 
regulatory objectives, to perform periodic reviews of existing 
standards to identify outmoded, ineffective, or burdensome standards, 
and to modify, streamline, or repeal such standards when appropriate.
    The Agency believes that the SIP rulemaking process is an effective 
means to improve its standards. In addition, the Advisory Committee for 
Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) recommended that the Agency 
review its construction standards as part of the SIP rulemaking process 
at a public meeting held on December 16, 2011. (A transcription of 
these proceedings is available at Docket No. OSHA-2011-0124-0025 
("ACCSH Transcript")). At this meeting, OSHA discussed examples of 
existing regulations currently under review for possible inclusion in 
the SIP-IV rulemaking (see Section II, "Request for Information, Data, 
and Comments," of this notice for a discussion of these examples) 
(ACCSH Transcript, pp. 133-154). The ACCSH recommended that OSHA also 
consider revising the standards related to fit testing personal 
protective equipment, notably Sec. Sec.  1926.103 and 1910.134, with 
emphasis on fit testing for female workers (ACCSH Transcript, pp. 142-
144). In addition, the ACCSH recommended that OSHA consider revisions 
to the fall-protection requirements applicable to chimney construction 
under Sec.  1926.552 to obviate the need for variances to address the 
specialized fall hazards common to chimney construction (ACCSH 
Transcript, pp. 142-149).
    Recognizing the importance of public participation in the SIP 
process, the Agency in this RFI is asking the public to identify 
standards that are in need of revision or removal, and to explain how 
such action will reduce regulatory burden while maintaining or 
increasing the protection afforded to employees. While commenters may 
recommend extensive revisions to, or major reorganizations of, OSHA 
standards, recommendations that require large-scale revisions to 
standards are not appropriate for this rulemaking. The Agency will 
determine whether such large-scale revisions are appropriate for a 
separate, future rulemaking. In addition, while SIP-IV will focus 
primarily on construction standards, the Agency will consider 
recommendations for improvements to non-construction standards.

II. Request for Information, Data, and Comments

    OSHA requests assistance from the public in identifying standards 
that are potential candidates for SIP-IV rulemaking. As stated above, 
the Agency is targeting primarily construction standards that are 
confusing or outdated, or that duplicate, or are inconsistent with, 
other OSHA standards or the standards issued by other agencies. The 
Agency is seeking recommendations on how to revise or remove those 
standards while maintaining or enhancing employee protection. To assist 
in the identification process, listed below under different objectives 
of the SIP-IV rulemaking (e.g., "Eliminate Unnecessary Paperwork") 
are specific examples from prior rulemakings, along with candidate 
standards currently under consideration for this rulemaking.

A. Eliminate Unnecessary Paperwork

    1. Examples from prior SIP rulemakings. SIP-III removed the duty of 
employers to transfer employee exposure and medical records to the 
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) when an 
employer ceased doing business and left no successor, when the required 
period for retaining the records expired, or when the employer 
terminated a worker's employment. While the original purpose of this 
requirement was to provide NIOSH with useful research information, 
NIOSH determined that it could not use these records for that purpose. 
SIP-III also removed the requirement to certify personal protective 
equipment (PPE) training. OSHA concluded that it could obtain the PPE 
training information using other means, thereby making this requirement 
unnecessary; removing the requirement reduced substantially the 
paperwork burden on employers.
    2. Example of an existing standard currently under review for 
possible inclusion in the SIP-IV rulemaking. To eliminate unnecessary 
paperwork among construction employers, OSHA is considering eliminating 
the requirement for a written certification of employee training in 
Sec.  1926.503(b) of the construction Fall Protection standard (29 CFR 
part 1926, subpart M). The underlying training requirement would still 
apply, but employers would no longer have to prepare written 
certifications of the training.

B. Clarify Employer Duties and Eliminate Unnecessary Employer Duties

    1. Examples from prior SIP rulemakings. In SIP-III, OSHA clarified 
employer duties by redefining the meaning of the term "potable 
water," and revised the title of 29 CFR part 1910, subpart E, from 
"Means of Egress" to "Exit Routes and Emergency Planning" for 
greater clarity and ease of comprehension by affected employers and 
employees. To eliminate unnecessary employer duties, SIP-I reduced the 
frequency of medical examinations and tests required in OSHA's 
Inorganic Arsenic and Coke Oven Emissions standards at 29 CFR 1910.1018 
and .1029, respectively.
    2. Example of an existing standard currently under review for 
possible inclusion in the SIP-IV rulemaking. To clarify employer 
duties, OSHA is considering a revision to the Motor Vehicle, Mechanized 
Equipment, and Marine Operations standard for construction (29 CFR part 
1926, subpart O) that would explain that Sec.  1926.601 (and not Sec.  
1926.602) covers vehicles that operate within an off-highway jobsite, 
while Sec.  1926.602 (and not Sec.  1926.601) covers "off-highway 
trucks." \4\ A number of construction employers have complained to 
OSHA that the existing language of these standards is confusing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ The term "off-highway trucks" refers to trucks designed 
for moving materials in areas other than public roads, e.g., very 
large dump trucks that are too large to operate on most roads.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. Update Standards and Eliminate Inconsistencies or Duplication 
Between Standards

    1. Examples from prior SIP rulemakings. The SIP-II rulemaking 
updated and harmonized a number of OSHA's early substance-specific 
standards (e.g., Vinyl Chloride, Acrylonitrile, Coke Oven Emissions, 
Inorganic Arsenic, and DBCP) by revising the exposure-monitoring, 
medical-surveillance, and compliance-plan-update provisions of these 
early standards consistent with recently promulgated OSHA substance-
specific standards. In the SIP-III rulemaking, OSHA revised 
inconsistent provisions of the Respiratory Protection standard to 
clarify which appendices contain mandatory provisions.
    2. Example of existing standards currently under review for 
possible inclusion in the SIP-IV rulemaking. OSHA is considering 
revising the construction Signals, Signs, and Barricades standards (29 
CFR part 1926, subpart G), notably Sec. Sec.  1926.201 and 1926.202, to 
reference the most current version of the Manual on Uniform Traffic 
Control Devices (MUTCD-2009) from the Department of Transportation's 
Federal Highway Administration. The current standard references the 
1988 and 2000 versions of the MUTCD, which are no longer used in many 
jurisdictions.

D. Miscellaneous Revisions \5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ These revisions include eliminating obsolete, unclear, or 
inconsistent standards; permitting the use of new technologies or 
new and effective employee-protection measures that provide 
equivalent or superior performance to existing OSHA standards; and 
correcting grammatical or typographical errors.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. Examples from prior SIP rulemakings. SIP-III removed the word 
"hot" modifying "air hand dryers" in its Bloodborne Pathogens 
standard to allow the use of new high-velocity-air hand-drying 
machines. OSHA acknowledged in the SIP-III rulemaking that the new 
hand-drying technology was as effective as the requirements in the 
existing standard, but the existing standard limited hand drying to a 
decades-old technology that delivered only hot air.
    2. Examples of existing standards currently under review for 
possible inclusion in the SIP-IV rulemaking. With regard to the 
Underground Construction, Caissons, Cofferdams and Compressed Air 
standards (29 CFR part 1926, subpart S), OSHA is considering updating 
the decompression tables in Appendix A.\6\ This action would permit 
employers to use decompression procedures that take advantage of new 
hyperbaric technologies used widely by private-sector and public-sector 
employers in the U.S. engaged in extreme hyperbaric exposures. 
Currently, to use updated decompression procedures, employers engaged 
in tunneling projects, for example, must apply for a variance from the 
decompression tables currently specified by Appendix A. However, the 
variance process is not an efficient means of addressing health and 
safety issues that may affect multiple employers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Updated decompression procedures typically use oxygen-
enriched breathing mixtures during decompression, as well as 
decompression schedules that differ substantially from the schedules 
specified by the existing Appendix A tables.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Another possible miscellaneous revision would involve revising the 
definitions of "stable rock" in Sec.  1926.650(b) and "layered 
system" in paragraph (b) of Appendix A of OSHA's Excavation standard 
by clarifying the meaning of those terms so that employers will 
classify soil correctly at excavation sites. Incorrect classifications 
of soil types can endanger employees because, based on faulty soil 
classification, employers may use inappropriate safeguards to prevent 
cave-ins.

E. Submitting Recommendations

    When submitting a recommended revision to an existing OSHA standard 
in response to this RFI, OSHA requests that members of the public 
explain their rationale and provide, if possible, data and information 
to support their comments. Specifically, OSHA is requesting commenters 

to provide: (1) The reasons why they believe a candidate standard is 
confusing or outdated, or duplicates, or is inconsistent with, other 
OSHA standards or the standards issued by other agencies, and mention 
specifically what the other standard is, and (2) the action, including 
revised language when appropriate, that they believe will improve the 
standard.

III. Authority and Signature

    David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for 
Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, authorized 
the preparation of this notice pursuant to Sections 4, 6, and 8 of the 
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657), 
29 CFR part 1911, and Secretary's Order 1-2012 (77 FR 3912).

    Signed at Washington, DC, on November 29, 2012.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2012-29514 Filed 12-5-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-26-P

Federal Registers - Table of Contents Federal Registers - Table of Contents