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Unified Agenda - Table of Contents

Priority: Other Significant

Legal Authority: 29 USC 651(b); 29 USC 655(b); 40 USC 333

CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1926

Legal Deadline: None

Abstract: Subpart G of 29 CFR part 1926 addresses the types of signs, signals and barricades that must be used in situations such as work areas on highways. OSHA's rule incorporates a 1971 ANSI standard, known as the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices). Since the early 1970's, the U.S. Department of Transportation has drafted updates to the MUTCD. DOT requires all States to comply with its updates.

Several years ago, industry stakeholders asked OSHA to update its standard to reflect new technology and provide more flexibility for compliance.

OSHA has decided to use a Direct Final Rule to update its standard since it anticipates widespread support for and few objections to the change. The Agency's Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health endorsed using a Direct Final Rule to make this change in its Winter 2000 meeting.

With the current emphasis on rebuilding the Nation's highways and improving safety in work zone areas, OSHA's update is particularly appropriate.

Statement of Need: The safe and efficient flow of traffic through construction work zones is a major concern to transportation officials, the highway industry and the traveling public. Today the majority of highway funds are being used on system preservation-type projects (resurfacing, restoration, rehabilitation, and reconstruction) on the existing highway system; highway construction of this type is at an all time high and will continue for several years to come.

The fatality rate for highway construction workers is twice the rate for other types of construction trades (DOT FHWA Office of Program Quality Coordination, Sept. 1998).

Summary of Legal Basis: The legal basis for this direct final rule is a finding by the Secretary of Labor that the number of highway work zone injuries and fatalities is high and that the outdated OSHA standard may be contributing to this result.

Alternatives: The Directorate of Construction has formed a task group to formulate a plan for reducing the number of highway work zone fatalities. In order for this group to accomplish its mission the standards must reflect new technology and best practices. Other alternatives, such as compliance assistance and partnership programs, will not achieve these goals.

Anticipated Cost and Benefits: The overwhelming majority of public roads are currently covered by DOT regulations and their related State traffic control manuals. Moreover, private roads constitute the minority of total roads, and some local governments extend coverage to these roads. Accordingly, OSHA will be solely responsible for regulating only a fraction of all highway work. The costs of compliance for those solely regulated by OSHA will, therefore, be much lower than those estimated for compliance with DOT regulations. Because DOT has found no significant costs of compliance for revisions of the MUTCD over the years, the costs of compliance for OSHA's direct final rule likewise will not be significant under Executive Order 12866.

Risks: OSHA believes that the adoption of the direct final rule will have a direct impact on the safety of workers engaged in work zone activities, although the extent of this risk reduction has not been quantified at this point.


Action Date FR Cite

Direct Final Rule 05/00/02  
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No

Small Entities Affected: No

Government Levels Affected: None

Agency Contact: Russell B. Swanson, Director, Directorate of Construction, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, FP Building, Washington, DC 20210
Phone: 202 693-2020
Fax: 202 693-1689
Email: bswanson@dol.gov

RIN: 1218-AB88

Unified Agenda - Table of Contents

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