Shaping Smarter Regulations

Thanks to everyone who has posted your ideas and comments! Please continue to submit your ideas to retrospectivereview@dol.gov.

The Department of Labor’s Regulatory Agenda will bring opportunity and economic security to working families, job-seekers, and retirees. As the Department pursues these regulatory efforts, we want to be smart about the way that we regulate.

That’s why the Department is always reviewing existing regulations to ensure that we address any rules that may be out of date, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome and for potential opportunities to modify, streamline, expand, or even repeal rules based on what we have learned.

Over the past five years, we have identified several of these rules, and have taken steps to streamline our regulations. For example, OSHA has published three Standards Improvement Projects (SIPs) that are intended to remove or revise duplicative, unnecessary, and inconsistent safety and health standards, and is now working on a fourth. We believe that these standards have reduced the compliance costs and eliminated or reduced the paperwork burden for a number of OSHA’s standards. And best of all, these projects have been a win-win, because OSHA only considers making such changes to its standards so long as they do not diminish employee protections.

We need your help to help find other opportunities to shape smarter regulations! Please consider posting your input on the questions below by April 1, 2015 (note the extended deadline):

  • Which of the Department’s regulations, guidance, or interpretations should be considered for review, expansion or modification?  
  • What regulations and reporting requirements should be reviewed due to conflicts, inconsistencies, or duplication among our own agencies or with other federal agencies?
  • What reporting requirements and information collections can be streamlined or reduced in frequency while achieving the same level of protections for workers, job-seekers, and retirees? Are there less costly methods, advances in technology, or innovative techniques that can be leveraged toward these purposes?
  • What regulatory reforms may require short-term cost increases to the regulated entities while creating longer-term savings, for example, through the adoption of new technologies?  What information, data, or technical assistance do regulated entities need in order to better assess these opportunities?
  • How should the Department capture changes in firm and market behavior in response to a regulation?
  • What data or other indicators suggest that the estimated costs and benefits of an existing regulation should be reviewed?
  • What other strategies exist for increasing the flexibility of regulations without limiting important protections? What information, data, or other technical assistance do stakeholders require in order to better assess the long-term impact of these reforms upon such protections?

As you answer these questions, it may help to consider areas marked by rapid technological change in a sector that could influence the structure and need for the regulation, whether the chosen regulatory approach will impose large ongoing costs on regulated entities, whether the agency is regulating in an area of significant uncertainty that may be lowered with a future retrospective study, and other conditions. Of course, we won’t be able to act on every idea immediately, but we look forward to considering your input in our ongoing internal review process.

Thanks for helping the Department of Labor find more ways to shape smarter regulations!

Shaping Smarter Regulations

DOL Should Withdraw H-2B Program Rule and Accede to DHS

The Department’s comprehensive program rule to govern the H-2B visa program was published after the April 2011 collection of comments on regulatory reform. This rule, also published at 20 CFR Part 655, creates a burdensome and unworkable construct for legally employing temporary foreign workers. In fact the program rules were a blatant attempt by DOL to simply graft the requirements the agency had imposed in the H-2A ...more »

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Improve information for workers on hazardous chemicals

The OSHA Globally Harmonized System (GHS) standard is capable of reducing the quantity and quality of information on hazardous chemicals to which American workers are exposed. The standard may bring the United States into conformity with international standards established under the auspices of the United Nations, but GHS is likely to be most helpful to employers in the U.S. and abroad as well as multinational corporations, ...more »

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DOL Should Withdraw Its H-2B Wage Methodology Rule

After imposition of a new prevailing wage methodology was barred by Congress in appropriations riders for FY12 and FY13, the Department of Labor did an end-run around congressional intent and promulgated a new joint rule with the Department of Homeland Security that, technically, was not barred by the riders. The new prevailing wage methodology under 20 CFR Part 655 was unworkable for most employers, who were able to ...more »

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Update Standard for Storage of Ammonium Nitrate

The Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME) supports the existing ammonium nitrate (AN) standard at 29 CFR 1910.109(i), but recommends that it be modified to include; (i) a prohibition on the use of wooden storage bins, (ii) an instruction that fires involving AN should not be fought (our recommendation against fighting AN fires is aimed at offsite first responders, not to trained, in-house fire brigades that respond ...more »

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OSHA HazCom 2012 & Small Container Labeling

One of the most difficult issues for fragrance companies like mine, and for a number of other industries, is the treatment of small or sample sized products under the Hazard Communication Standard. While other jurisdictions like Canada and the European Union allowed for special accommodation for small bottles, OSHA has not allowed for an exemption. The result is a new, arduous, costly and incredibly burdensome process ...more »

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Worker exposure to well-recognized health and safety hazards

OSHA has insufficient (or non-existent) regulations to address workers’ exposure to well-recognized hazards. OSHA should issue a final regulation to protect workers from respirable crystalline silica before the end of the Obama Administration. OSHA should publish proposed regulations on beryllium, combustible dust, communication towers, diesel exhaust, heat stress, fatigue, infectious diseases, and workplace injury and ...more »

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Reduce training frequency for OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard

31 March 2015 Regarding: Yale University’s Comments on DOL’s Request for Information Submitted via E Docket OSHA Docket Office U.S. Department of Labor 200 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC 20210 Dear Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Yale University submits the following comments in response to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) 3 February 2015 Request for Information (RFI) on improving regulation ...more »

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Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (1978)

The regulations at 41 CFR 60-3, Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (1978), need to be updated. Numerous improvements advancements in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and the associated statistical analysis tools have been made since the regulations were last updated four decades ago. Another factor is that employers have introduced new technology into the selection process which is not explicitly ...more »

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MSHA Should Change Its Single I.D. Number Policy

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) policy of assigning single independent contractor identification (ID) numbers to commercial explosives companies who conduct blasting and other services at multiple mine sites has an unfair and inequitable impact on those companies. Under current MSHA policy, if a parent corporation had ten subsidiaries separately formed and organized as LLCs operating in different regions ...more »

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Hearing Conservation - Medical Surveilance

Change 1910.95 (g) from "...making audiometric testing available to all employees ..." to requiring audiometric testing to all employees whose exposures equal or exceed an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels. Some employers may encourage employees to opt out of medical surveillance as a means of deferring cost. It seems rational that an employee would want to have their hearing testing where they are overexposed, ...more »

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DOL Regulations

As an HR professional for over 35 years, my biggest frustration is each sub-department/committee (OFCCP vs EEOC vs DOL overall) in the DOL has their own requirements for eligibility; in particular the number of employees (full-time vs part-time) and duration for records retention. Could the DOL review eligibility requirements and try to standardize just to make it easier to understand?

 

Thanks.

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