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That’s why the Department is always reviewing existing regulations to ensure that we address any rules that may be out of date, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome and for potential opportunities to modify, streamline, expand, or even repeal rules based on what we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

Campaign: Shaping Smarter Regulations

Lower Action Limit for Occupational Noise from 85 to 80 dBA

OSHA should lower the action limit for occupational noise exposure from 85 dBA to 80 dBA. The European Union Noise Directive mandates 80 dBA as an action limit. Workers will still lose hearing exposed at 85 dBA and Hearing protectors are optional until levels reach 90 decibels. NIOSH notes that 1 in 12 workers will develop hearing loss exposed to 85 decibels and the risk does not approach zero until you get to 80 decibels. ...more »

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Start enforcing noise regulations

The OSHA regs on noise control dictate that engineering controls be applied to reduce noise levels, as feasible, when exposures exceed 100% - but too many employers fail to realize how the costs of noise remediation can be less than the administration of a hearing conservation program for several years. The other thing is that the use of hearing protection deprives the worker of one of his senses, thus creating a hazard ...more »

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Updating the methods for estimating adequacy of HP attenuation

Individual fit-test methods are a potential tool for education, training, and measuring/documentation of individual hearing protector attenuation ratings; however, more studies are required to support specific recommendations on the use of fit-test systems. The US Air Force representatives of the ANSI WG 11 request the allowance of the methods described in ANSI S12.68 for use in estimating the adequacy of hearing protector ...more »

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Require Reclassification Certificates be Maintained 1 year

Add requirement to maintain written certification of reclassification for one year consistent with requirements for confined space entry permits. The permit space standard requires that you document the basis of reclassification, but does not require that you maintain the record. When assessing compliance with this requirement, there is no means of confirming the written documentation, if it is immediately destroyed. ...more »

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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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Combustible Dust Standard

Since 1923, when the NFPA published the first “national consensus standard” on the prevention of dust explosions in grain in flour mills, the hazards associated with combustible dust has not been unknown. In 2009, OSHA reported that loss from these explosions or fires affected almost 350,000 companies across the nation. Each of these accidents could have been prevented with proper regulation to employers that would prevent ...more »

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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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OSHA's response to amputations and hospitalizations

Beginning January 1, 2015, employers operating in States under federal OSHA jurisdiction are required to report to OSHA, within 24 hours, all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, all amputations, and all losses of an eye. On a case-by-case basis, OSHA will determine whether to investigate such incidents. To facilitate accountability to the public and transparency, when OSHA decides not to investigate one of these ...more »

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Safety Belts and Lines

The Industrial Minerals Association - North America (IMA-NA) suggests that MSHA’s fall protection standard be updated to advise against the use of safety belts as an acceptable form of personal protection against falls. OSHA long-ago made this change as evidenced in 1926.502(d): "Personal fall arrest systems." Personal fall arrest systems and their use shall comply with the provisions set forth below. Effective January ...more »

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OFCCP Should Withdraw Its Proposed Employee Compensation report

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has published an NPRM which would require federal subcontractors to submit to the federal government employee summary compensation data collected in an “Equal Pay Report” (EPR). (Though the rule is not yet final, we include it in this submission because the comment period has closed (as of January 5, 2015) and the RFI only prohibits review of “DOL rulemakings currently ...more »

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This is the 21st. century, isn't time that OSHA establish a hand cart safety measure for the thousands of employees that work with in the beverage industry? Keg Caddy is by far the safest means of transporting keg and case beverages. Ergonomically designed handle system will help to reduce stress on the back, shoulder, groin and wrist area. It also features a patented locking device which will prevent a keg from shifting ...more »

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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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