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Unified Agenda - Table of Contents


Regulatory Plan: This entry is Seq. No. 73 in Part II of this issue of the Federal Register.

RIN: 1218-AB58


Priority: Economically Significant. Major status under 5 USC 801 is undetermined.

Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined

Legal Authority: 29 USC 655(b)(1); 29 USC 656(b)

CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1910

Legal Deadline: None

Abstract: In December 1993, the International Union, United Automobile Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America petitioned OSHA to take emergency regulatory action to protect workers from the risks of occupational cancers and respiratory illnesses due to exposure to metalworking fluids. OSHA sent an interim response to the UAW stating that the decision to proceed with rulemaking would depend on the results of the OSHA Priority Planning Process. Following the Priority Planning Process report, which identified metalworking fluids as an issue worthy of Agency action, the Assistant Secretary asked the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) for a recommendation about how to proceed with metalworking fluids. NACOSH unanimously recommended that OSHA form a Standards Advisory Committee (SAC) to address the health risks caused by occupational exposure to metalworking fluids. The Assistant Secretary accepted the recommendation of NACOSH; OSHA has established a 15-member SAC to make recommendations regarding a standard, a guideline, or other appropriate response to the dangers of occupational exposures to metalworking fluids. The Committee has a balanced membership, including individuals appointed to represent the following affected interests: industry; labor; Federal and State safety and health organizations; professional organizations; and national standards-setting groups.

Statement of Need: Under Table Z-1 of the 1971 air contaminants rule, OSHA enforces a permissible exposure limit of 5 mg/m3 for mineral oil mists, but evidence suggests this level is outdated and that exposure to metalworking fluids can lead to cancer, non-malignant lung disease, and dermatitis. Giving a SAC the opportunity to examine and comment upon current studies and data concerning the risks associated with all metalworking fluid mixtures (straight oils, synthetic, and semisynthetic) will provide valuable information the Agency can use to develop a proposed rule for metalworking fluids or other appropriate response to hazards posed by occupational exposure to metalworking fluids. The SAC will also report on related issues such as fluid management, engineering controls, medical surveillance, and economic and technological feasibility.

Summary of the Legal Basis: The legal basis for convening this standards advisory committee is found at section 7(b) of the OSH Act.

Alternatives: The Agency recognizes the complex and difficult nature of the issues surrounding the regulation of metalworking fluids and believes a SAC can best alleviate some areas of confusion. The Committee has a unique opportunity to provide needed data and academic and professional expertise, as well as large and small industry and labor perspectives. Through OSHA's exhaustive Priority Planning Process and NACOSH recommendations, metalworking fluids were identified as a regulatory candidate that could be handled most successfully through a SAC. The option of going directly to 6(b) rulemaking has been bypassed in favor of a SAC, which will give beneficial input to the agency as to how best to deal with the problems and the opportunity to build some consensus before a proposal is issued.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: Because the SAC is still considering the issues, the form of the Committee's recommendations is unknown at the present time. However, once the SAC report is written, OSHA will review it and determine how to proceed with a proposed rule and other actions to protect employees. Quantitative estimates of costs and benefits will be made only after the proposed rule has been drafted.

Risks: OSHA has not yet assessed the risks confronting workers exposed to metalworking fluids, although the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has published risk estimates for some of the adverse health effects of interest to the SAC.


Action Date FR Cite

Appointed Members 07/11/97
Charter Approved 08/15/97
Committee Meeting 09/18/98
SAC Information to Asst Secy 09/00/99

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined

Government Levels Affected: Undetermined

Additional Information: The Agency is particularly concerned with the potential impact a metalworking fluids rule would have on small businesses. OSHA has been working closely with the Small Business Administration to reach small employers in order to involve them in the process at the earliest possible time. At least 30 small business interests have been identified to date. The Agency is required to have balanced committee representation and small business is represented on the SAC.

Agency Contact: Adam Finkel
Director, Health Standards Programs
Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
200 Constitution Avenue NW.
Room N3718, FP Building
Washington, DC 20210
Phone: 202 219-7075
Fax: 202 219-7125

RIN: 1218-AB58

Unified Agenda - Table of Contents

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