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That’s why the Department is always reviewing existing regulations to ensure that we address any rules that may be out of date, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome and for potential opportunities to modify, streamline, expand, or even repeal rules based on what we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

Monetary penalties for workplace H&S violations

In 2012, OSHA made modest revisions to its policy for calculating proposed monetary penalties. OSHA has not required, however, the OSHA State Plan States to adopt this policy. There is wide disparity among the States on proposed penalties for serious, repeat and willful violations. For example, in 2013 the average proposed penalty in Maryland (a State Plan OSHA) for a serious violation was $685, compared to $1,916 in ...more »

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29 votes
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Shaping Smarter Regulations

Wage Determinations & SCA EA's for Service Contracts

Addtional notification on when changes to wage determinations are made.

 

Addtional guidance and training resources for Contracting Officers for application of wage determinations and equiable adjustment of labor rates and health and welfare rates for Service Contracts.

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4 votes
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Shaping Smarter Regulations

EEOICPA - Coordination of offset or surplus

The postponement or denial of EEOICPA medical benefits because of a surplus amount is improper and inconsistent with intent of Congress in providing remedial compensation and medical benfits. There is no authorization in the Act for “offset” or “coordination of benefits” extended to “medical benefits” as is provided for in the associated regulations [20 C.F.R. § 30.505(b)(2)(iii) and 20 CFR §30.626(c)(2)(ii)]. Contrary ...more »

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Shaping Smarter Regulations

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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26 votes
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Shaping Smarter Regulations

Revision of 1910.212

29CFR 1910.212 is the general guarding clause that applies to all machinery. We now have a solid ANSI standard which should be applied - ANSI B11.0 "Risk Assessment and Reduction for Machinery." This would require that a risk assessment be performed by the manufacturer and user of the machine, that APPROPRIATE safeguarding means be used based upon the intended use, and any RESIDUAL RISK be properly communicated to the ...more »

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Shaping Smarter Regulations

Nuclear Weapons Workers Illness Compensation Program

The Final Rules which govern the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program should be changed to reflect Congressional intent to compensate workers who developed serious and sometimes fatal diseases from exposures to toxic substances at the Department of Energy's nuclear weapons facilities. Below are a few suggestions that will help achieve this goal. Reword section 30.111 to remove the claimant's burden ...more »

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7 votes
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Shaping Smarter Regulations

EEOICPA - Post-mortem Communication

Consider requiring the OWCP to recognize an employee’s authorized representative or an executor of the estate for an employee that has died before all of their medical bills have been authorized and paid.

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Shaping Smarter Regulations

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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19 votes
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Shaping Smarter Regulations

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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Shaping Smarter Regulations

Remove "1965" and Instead Reference CGA P-1

Remove “1965” in the language “Compressed Gas Association – 1965” of paragraph (b) of 1910.101. Instead, have it state that it shall be installed and maintained in accordance with Compressed Gas Association P-1. It currently requires compliance with a consensus standard that is 50 years old.

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Shaping Smarter Regulations

PSM - Mechanical Integrity

Add an additional section to 1910.119 (j)(1) as “vii – Any equipment critical to the integrity of the process and/or safety and health of employees.” As it stands now the applicability of mechanical integrity only covers six types of equipment listed with no catch-all for equipment that may be used to control, minimize, or mitigate the unwanted release of highly hazardous materials. For instance, water spray may be commonly ...more »

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5 votes
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Shaping Smarter Regulations

EEOICPA Notification to Claimants

• Consider requiring the OWCP to automatically and timely provided to the employee any written medical documentation, contemporaneous records, and other records or documents obtained or generated by the OWCP and not submitted by the employee or their representative that the OWCP has relied on to render a decision on medical benefits. This includes directed medical exam (medical second opinion) reports, district medical ...more »

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