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That’s why the Department is always reviewing existing regulations to ensure that we address any rules that may be out of date, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome and for potential opportunities to modify, streamline, expand, or even repeal rules based on what we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

OSHA's Feb. 13, 2013 letter of interpretation to the United Steelworkers allowing third-party employee representatives to accompany OSHA inspectors on walk-around inspections, without any showing of need or qualifcations is contrary to agency regulations that say an employee representative "shall be" an employee of the company. Accordingly, this LOI should be withdrawn.

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OSHA Should Abandon Its Opposition to Incentive Programs

In a memo to field staff on March 12, 2012, OSHA established a new policy that incentive programs wouild constitute a violation of the whistleblower protections under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act. The agency provided no data, no studies, no reports to support this position--only its belief that these programs suppress employees from coming forward with injuries or hazards. If OSHA believes this, the agency must conduct ...more »

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Testing Grounding Systems

The Industrial Minerals Association – North America (IMA-NA) would like to see MSHA’s regulations at 30 CFR 56/57.12028, regarding annual verification testing for electrical grounding systems, revised. The rule provides: Continuity and resistance of grounding systems shall be tested immediately after installation, repair, and modification; and annually thereafter. A record of the resistance measured during the most ...more »

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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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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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Comments to U.S. Department of Labor on Decreasing Regulatory Bu

The Independent Bakers Association (IBA) is pleased to respond to the Department of Labor’s invitation for public comment on how the Department can improve its regulations by modernizing, modifying, redesigning, streamlining, expanding, or repealing them. IBA is a national trade association of over 250 wholesale bakeries and related organizations. Our members include government contractors which are subject to regulations ...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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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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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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Farmworker Justice Recommendations for Farmworker Protections

Farmworker Justice is a national, non-profit advocacy and education organization that works to improve working and living conditions for migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families. Since its founding 30 years ago, Farmworker Justice has advocated for farmworkers in matters that affect their immigration status, working conditions, health occupational safety and access to justice.. Farmworker Justice submits these ...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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