OSHA and EPA Release Regulatory Agenda Update

OSHA and EPA Regulatory Agenda Update
July 23, 2020

On July 1, the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs released the Spring 2020 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.

The Unified Agenda provides information about regulations that the U.S. Federal Government is considering or reviewing. It appears in the Federal Register twice per year, and informs on the regulatory priorities of Federal agencies.

This post highlights key OSHA and EPA rules that are in the Final Rule Stage, and that may be of interest to the Enablon community. Regulation Identifier Numbers (RIN) and links are also provided. Note that there are three stages of rulemaking: Prerule, Proposed Rule, and Final Rule.

OSHA Rules

There are seven OSHA rules in the Final Rule Stage in the agenda. Of these, the following are noteworthy:

Occupational Exposure to Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds in Construction and Shipyard Sectors (1218-AD29)

OSHA says that beryllium exposure in construction and shipyards occurs almost exclusively during abrasive blasting and welding operations. Therefore, the agency is proposing to revise its beryllium standards for the construction and shipyards industries. The proposed changes aim to: 1) tailor the requirements of the construction and shipyards standards to the particular exposures in these industries; 2) more closely align the shipyards and construction standards to the general industry standard; and 3) clarify certain requirements with respect to materials containing only trace amounts of beryllium.

Note that the final rule revising the beryllium standard for general industry was published last week (1218-AD20 in the Agenda)

Procedures for Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under the Whistleblower Protection Statutes (1218-AD30)

OSHA is promulgating an interim final rule to update the procedures for handling and investigating retaliation complaints under several whistleblower protection statutes. The updates would make the investigation procedures consistent among the statutes, and make the process accessible for employers and employees by providing uniform standards regarding various procedural issues, including the sharing of the information between the parties during the investigation and the ability of the agency to serve findings electronically.

Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Exemption Expansions for Railroad Roadway Work (1218-AD07)

As part of a settlement agreement with the Association of American Railroads (AAR), OSHA is proposing a rule to expand exemptions affecting railroad roadway work by providing an additional exemption from the crane standard for a particular class of track maintenance hoisting equipment and partial exemptions from, or alternate work practices in lieu of particular requirements of the cranes standard.

EPA Rules

There are 64 EPA rules in the Final Rule Stage in the agenda. Of these, the following are noteworthy:

Reclassification of Major Sources as Area Sources Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act (2060-AM75)

This final rule addresses when a major source can become an area source by taking enforceable limits on its potential to emit hazardous air emissions, and thus become not subject to NESHAP for major sources under Clean Air Act (CAA) section 112. The final rule implements the EPA’s plain language reading of the CAA section 112 definitions of “major” and “area” sources as discussed in the January 2018 William Wehrum memorandum titled “Reclassification of Major Sources as Area Sources Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act.”

Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources Reconsideration (2060-AT54)

In 2016, the EPA finalized “Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources.” In 2018, the EPA proposed amendments to the 2016 rule that include changes to the frequency for monitoring fugitive emissions at well sites and compressor stations; requirements for pneumatic pumps at well sites; and requirements that a professional engineer certify when meeting those requirements is technically not possible. Additional proposed amendments related to the professional engineer certification of the design of closed vent systems, and requirements for requesting alternative means of emissions limitations were also included. This rule will finalize the amendments.

Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances (2070-AJ94)

EPA proposed amending components of the Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances regulations at 40 CFR 721, specifically the “Protection in the Workplace” (40 CFR 721.63) and “Hazard Communication Program” (40 CFR 721.72). The proposed changes are intended to align, where possible, EPA’s regulations with the revised OSHA regulations at 29 CFR 1910.1200. OSHA issued a final rule in 2012 that aligns OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standards with GHS. EPA is reviewing the comments received and is planning to issue a final rule.

Implementing Statutory Addition of Certain Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (2070-AK63)

This action will amend the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) regulations to reflect the statutory addition of certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) covered by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to the list of chemical substances subject to reporting for the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).

Dates and status of rules included in the agenda are subject to change. The information from the Department of Labor and the EPA should not be viewed as a commitment, but as an indication of the priorities being pursued.

For more details, see the full Spring 2020 Agency Rule List for the Department of Labor and the Agency Rule List for the EPA.

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