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That’s why the Department is always reviewing existing regulations to ensure that we address any rules that may be out of date, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome and for potential opportunities to modify, streamline, expand, or even repeal rules based on what we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

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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Shaping Smarter Regulations

DOL Should Update and Modernize PERM Regulations

There are a number of aspects of the PERM regulations (Program Electronic Review Management used in the Labor Certification process for permanent residency sponsorship by employers) that continue to require revision, so they are updated and modernized, none of which have been addressed since the 2011 regulatory review process: 20 CFR Part 656 currently has no agency timelines for adjudications, audits or appeals. When ...more »

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Shaping Smarter Regulations

Fit Check Science technology validates & corrects HPD's

Urgent necessity of vast improvements are needed at least in the form of "Hearing Fit Check" science to the Appendix B of CFR 29, 19.10.95 Fit Check testing for hearing is as important as respiratory fit check testing is Law. This past year I used a field fit check system(technology won the "Anwar-Bullard" science award for innovation). meeting ANSI ambient sound standards level at 1000 hz and above in the field(forestry), ...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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Shaping Smarter Regulations

Add Clarification to Reclassification of Permit Space

Add a sentence to clarify reclassification of a permit-required confined space to paragraph (c)(7) of 1910.146. A notation like, A permit-required space that has been reclassified using the procedures below becomes a permit-required space again once the hazards are reintroduced to the permit space. As it written, so many employers interpret this to be a one-time change which is permanent. That is that once the permit ...more »

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Substantive Correction of 29 C.F.R. § 785.36

The opening sentence of Section 785.36 currently says, "There may be instances when travel from home to work is OVERTIME [emphasis added]." I submit that the sentence should conclude with the word "worktime", as it did for many years. My research has not disclosed why or exactly when the change from "worktime" to "overtime" occurred. So far as I have been able to determine, "worktime" was used in and before 1971, but ...more »

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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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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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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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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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Emergency Action Plan scope

Revise the scope of 1910.38(a) to include all businesses with 10 or more employees. The current scope is limited to only where another standard demands it. However, the hazards associated with fire and other emergencies effect more than this standard covers.

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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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