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That’s why the Department is always reviewing existing regulations to ensure that we address any rules that may be out of date, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome and for potential opportunities to modify, streamline, expand, or even repeal rules based on what we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

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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Shaping Smarter Regulations

Perm Reform

Re: Retrospective Review and Regulatory Flexibility, published at 80 Fed. Reg. 5715-5716 (February 3, 2015); Docket Number DOL_FRDOC_0001-0392 Intel Corporation (Intel) appreciates the opportunity to submit these comments about PERM modernization. Intel participates in the Council for Global Immigration (CFGI) and also supports the comments it is providing about PERM and other topics. Intel is a cornerstone of America’s ...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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Shaping Smarter Regulations

Additional Testing for Black Lung

DCMWC currently only uses spirometry testing in Black Lung claims. These tests only show expiratory lung deficits. Lung volumes and diffusions need added to testing to adequately determine a miner's disability. Is there any reason these tests are not included? The regulations desperately need updated.

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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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Shaping Smarter Regulations

29 CFR 1904 interpretations regarding antibiotics

Recommend that the interpretation regarding the administration of prophylactic antibiotics following tick bites be changed, so that it is consistent with the interpretation regarding tetanus vaccinations. Administration of prophylactic antibiotics following tick bites is currently interpreted to be medical treatment. This interpretation may discourage the administration of post-bite antibiotics and thereby possibly ...more »

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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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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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Dialogue on the need for and right to use paid sick leave

Employees fortunate enough to have paid sick days sometimes report that management penalizes them for using the sick days to which they are entitled. During flu season each year, OSHA should use online communications and social media to remind employers that when sick workers use paid sick time to stay home and recover, it’s good for everyone’s health.

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president/ceo

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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