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||Consultation Agreements: Proposed Changes to Consultation Procedures
[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 153 (Thursday, August 8, 2013)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-19126]
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
29 CFR Part 1908
[Docket No. OSHA-2010-0010]
Consultation Agreements: Proposed Changes to Consultation
AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.
ACTION: Withdrawal of proposed rule; termination of rulemaking.
SUMMARY: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on September 3, 2010,
proposing to amend its regulations for the federally-funded On-site
Consultation Program to: Clarify, so it more directly reflects the
wording of section 21(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act,
(OSH Act), the length of the exemption period provided to sites that
have had their names removed from OSHA's Programmed Inspection
Schedule; and to clarify the high priority enforcement cases when OSHA
may initiate a non-programmed inspection at those sites that have
achieved recognition and exemption status. The Agency has decided to
withdraw the proposed rule.
DATES: This withdrawal becomes effective August 8, 2013.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For press inquiries: For press
inquiries about this notice contact Mr. 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 or Meilinger.Francis2@dol.gov.
For general and technical information: Mr. Patrick Showalter,
Director, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs, Office of
Small Business Assistance, Room N-3660, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor,
200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202)
693-2220 or Showalter.Patrick@dol.gov.
OSHA administers and provides federal funding for the On-site
Consultation Program, which offers free and confidential safety and
health advice to small and medium sized businesses across the country,
with priority given to high-hazard worksites. This program assists
employers who may lack the resources to employ safety professionals, to
comply with the requirements of the OSH Act, and to create safer and
healthier workplaces. Trained safety and health professionals, provided
either by state agencies or public universities, work with employers to
identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance, and assist in
establishing safety and health management systems. On-site Consultation
services are separate from OSHA's enforcement activities and do not
result in penalties or citations.
The On-site Consultation Program's Safety and Health Achievement
Recognition Program (SHARP) recognizes small employers who operate an
exemplary safety and health management system. Employers who
successfully complete a comprehensive On-site consultation visit,
correct all hazards identified during the visit, and implement an
ongoing safety and health program to identify and correct workplace
hazards, may be recommended for and may receive SHARP status. Those
that have received SHARP status will receive an exemption from OSHA's
Programmed Inspection Schedule during a specified period. Acceptance of
a worksite into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement that singles out a
business as a model for worksite safety and health.
In a NPRM, published on September 3, 2010, OSHA proposed revising
its regulations for the On-site Consultation Program in the Federal
Register (75 FR 54064-54069). The proposed rule included three new
provisions. One provision in the proposal dealt with the types of high
priority federal enforcement inspections that could interrupt an
ongoing consultation visit. Another provision of the proposal dealt
with the circumstances under which OSHA may conduct a high priority
enforcement visit at a workplace that has either achieved SHARP
recognition or is working towards it. The final issue in the proposal
was the length of time an employer that has qualified for SHARP may be
exempted from OSHA's Programmed Inspection Schedule. Although OSH Act
section 21(d) authorizes a one-year exemption, OSHA has for many years
exercised its inherent discretion over inspection scheduling to extend
this exemption period to two years
OSHA provided a 60-day comment period on the proposed rule. OSHA
received 89 comments from various OSHA stakeholders including
employers, organizations representing small business and other
employers, labor unions and other worker safety advocates.
II. Reasons for Withdrawal of Proposed Rule
All the changes OSHA had proposed were very minor in nature.
However, many stakeholders expressed concern that the proposed changes
would reduce an employer's incentive to participate in the On-site
Consultation program. Several commentators expressed concerns that
these changes would increase OSHA enforcement activities at worksites
that have already demonstrated excellence in their safety and health
management systems. Other commentators appeared to believe that the
Agency was trying to eliminate exemptions entirely or take incentives
away. OSHA did not intend any of these results. However, in light of
the magnitude of the concerns expressed compared to the relatively
minor changes OSHA intended, the Agency has decided to withdraw the
proposed rule. All rulemaking participants agree with OSHA that the
consultation program and the SHARP recognition program are valuable
ways to assist and recognize small employers who are working to improve
their workplaces. If the small changes OSHA proposed could have the
effect of discouraging participation in the programs, the Agency does
not believe it is worth amending the rule.
III. Authority and Signature
David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for
Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, 200
Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, directed the preparation
of this notice. It is issued pursuant to 7(c), 8, 18, 21(d) and 23(g)
of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 656, 657,
667, 670 672) and Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-2012 (77 FR 3912),
January 25, 2012; No. 3-2000 (65 FR 50017), No. 5-2007 (72 FR 31159).
Signed at Washington, DC, on July 24, 2013.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2013-19126 Filed 8-7-13; 8:45 am]
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