October turned out to be a fairly busy month for EH&S regulation. The last month saw a variety of major and minor rules changes and announcements that will effect industry for years to come. You might’ve missed some of these changes, so let’s take a few minutes to look them over. After all, it’s likely that these regulations will affect you or your business eventually.
OSHA Stymied, EPA Moving Along
- New OSHA Rule on Workplace Injury Reporting: The top story for the last month is yet another delay for OSHA’s new reporting rule. Specifically, enforcement of the controversial anti-retaliation provision has been delayed until December 1st. This will be the second such delay for this provision, which has been challenged in federal court by a coalition of regulated industries.
- The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act: In the last month, the EPA designated the first 5 chemicals to be “fast-tracked” under the new TSCA bill (tentatively called FRL-21). Interestingly, the Agency has chosen to prioritize “Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic” chemicals, or PBTs. The EPA is required to have an action plan for regulating each of these chemicals by June 2019. Should the EPA find the chemicals dangerous enough, this will be the first step in curtailing their use.
- U.S. DOT proposes speed limiters for large commercial vehicles: On the first of November, the Department of Transportation extended the comment period for a rule that requires speed limiters to be installed in most trucks. Should this rule come into effect, all large commercial vehicles will need to have a built-in maximum speed of 60 to 70 mph.
New Regulations, Rules, and Announcements
- Rule Finalizing Changes to Existing Hazardous Waste Export and Import Regulation: Last Friday, the EPA finalized a rule on hazardous waste import and export standards. This rule brings the US regulations in line with OECD standards. Additionally, the new rule requires that all import and export documentation be submitted electronically to both the EPA and Customs.
- Final rule establishing procedures for handling retaliation complaints under the Affordable Care Act: On the 12th, OSHA issued a final rule outlining how whistleblowers would be processed under the Affordable Care Act. This rule gives teeth to provisions in the Act which protect workers from retaliation, and encourages people to report violations of the Act.
- OSHA has proposed new procedures for fit-testing respirators, which if finalized will cut testing time by 65%. These standards won’t replace the old ones, so adoption of them will be strictly optional.
- A couple of weeks ago, the Department of Energy released a report on ways to improve safety of natural gas storage facilities. The report was compiled by a federal task force formed to investigate the Aliso Gas leak of 2015. Its 44 guidelines can be found here.
- Rounding out last month’s regulatory activity, the DoT announced the formation of a new advisory committee on automation in transportation. With self-driving cars and drones becoming more commonplace every year, the DoT recognizes that regulations will need to change to take them into account. It is anticipated that this committee will be consulted when the time comes to overhaul the rules of the road.
Undoubtedly, some of these changes are going to affect how you do your job. Quantum offers a variety of solutions that can help you navigate our ever-changing regulatory climate. If you think any of this month’s rules will affect you or your business, contact us today at 734-930-0008 or [email protected]!