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Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents
• Record Type: Occupational Exposure to 4,4' Methylenedianiline (MDA)
• Section: 2
• Title: Section 2 - II. Pertinent Legal Authority

II. Pertinent Legal Authority

Authority for issuance of this standard is found primarily in sections 4, 6(b), 8(c), and 8(g)(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the Act), 29 U.S.C. 653, 655(b), 657(c), and 657(g)(2). Section 6(b)(5) governs the issuance of occupational safety and health standards dealing with toxic materials or harmful physical agents. Section 3(8) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 652(8), defines an occupational safety and health standard as:

...a standard which requires conditions, or the adoption or use of one or more practices, means, methods, operations, or processes, reasonably necessary or appropriate to provide safe or healthful employment and places of employment.

The Supreme Court has said that section 3(8) applies to:

...all permanent standards promulgated under the Act and requires the Secretary, before issuing any standard, to determine that it is reasonably necessary and appropriate to remedy a significant risk of material health impairment. Industrial Union Department v. American Petroleum Institute, 448 U.S. 607 (1980).

The "significant risk" determination constitutes a finding that, absent the change in practices mandated by the standard, the workplaces in question would be "unsafe" in the sense that workers would be threatened with a significant risk of harm. Id. at 642. A significant risk finding, however, does not require mathematical precision or anything approaching scientific certainty if the "best available evidence" does not warrant that degree of proof. Id. at 655-656; 29 U.S.C. 655 (b)(5). Rather, the Agency may base its finding largely on policy considerations and has considerable leeway with the kinds of assumptions it applies in interpreting the data supporting it. Id. 655-656; 29 U.S.C. 655(b)(5). The Court's opinion indicates that risk assessments, which may involve mathematical estimates with some inherent uncertainties, are a means of demonstrating the existence of significant risk.

After OSHA has determined that a significant risk exists and that such risk can be reduced or eliminated by the proposed standard, it must set the standard "which most adequately assures, to the extent feasible on the basis of the best available evidence, that no employee will suffer material impairment of health ***". Section 6(b)(5) of the Act. The Supreme Court has interpreted this section to mean that OSHA must enact the most protective standard necessary to eliminate a significant risk of material health impairment, subject to the constraints of technological and economic feasibility. American Textile Manufacturers Institute, Inc. v. Donovan, 452 U.S. 490 (1981). The Court held that "cost-benefit analysis is not required by the statute because feasibility analysis is." Id. at 509.

Authority to issue this standard is also found in section 8(c) of the Act. In general, this section requires the Secretary to require employers to make, keep, and preserve records regarding activities related to the Act. In particular, section 8(c)(3) gives the Secretary authority to require employers to "maintain accurate records of employee exposure to potentially toxic materials or harmful physical agents which are required to be monitored or measured under section 6." Provisions of OSHA standards which require the making and maintenance of records of medical examinations, exposure monitoring, and the like are issued pursuant to section 8(c) of the Act.

The Secretary's authority to issue this standard is further supported by the general rulemaking authority granted in section 8(g)(2) of the Act. This section empowers the Secretary to "prescribe such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary to carry out (his) responsibilities under this Act" -- in this case as part of or ancillary to a section 6(b) standard. The Secretary's responsibilities under the Act are defined largely by its enumerated purposes, which include:

Encouraging employers and employees in their efforts to reduce the number of occupational safety and health hazards at their places of employment, and to stimulate employers and employees to institute new and to perfect existing programs for providing safe and healthful working conditions (29 U.S.C. 651(b)(1));

Setting mandatory occupational safety and health standards applicable to business affecting interstate commerce, and by creating an Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission for carrying out adjudicatory functions under the Act (29 U.S.C. 651(b)(3));

Building upon advances already made through employee and employer initiative for providing safe and healthful working conditions (29 U.S.C. 651(b)(4));

Providing for the development and promulgation of occupational safety and health standards (29 U.S.C. 651(b)(9));

Providing for appropriate reporting procedures with respect to occupational safety and health which procedures will help achieve the objectives of this Act and accurately describe the nature of the occupational safety and health problem (29 U.S.C. 651(b)(12));

Exploring ways to discover latent diseases, establishing causal connections between diseases and work in environmental conditions ***. (29 U.S.C. 651(b)(6));

Encouraging joint labor-management efforts to reduce injuries and diseases arising out of employment (29 U.S.C. 651(b)(13)); and

Developing innovative methods, techniques, and approaches for dealing with occupational safety and health problems (29 U.S.C. 651(b)(5)).

Because the MDA standards are reasonably related to these statutory goals, the Secretary finds that these standards are necessary to carry out her responsibilities under the Act.

[57 FR 35630, Aug. 10, 1992]

Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents

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