OSHA Mid-Year Rulemaking Update

As we head into the midway point of 2024, we wanted to provide a brief update on significant OSHA rulemaking developments.

Heat Stress: OSHA recently took a critical step in implementing its long-awaited heat stress rule by presenting the draft rule’s initial regulatory framework at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health on April 24, 2024. The Committee unanimously recommended OSHA move forward on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. It is more likely now that we may see the rule this summer.

Hazard Communication: OSHA’s Hazard Communication (HazCom) final rule was released on May 20, 2024. The rule becomes effective July 20, 2024, but with staggered compliance dates for chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors evaluating substances. Employers generally have six months beyond those dates (July 20, 2026 for substances and January 19, 2028 for mixtures) to update labeling and HazCom programs and to provide additional employee training for newly identified hazards. Chemical manufacturers and importers will be most affected by the rule which, among other things, aligns the hazard communication standard with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification.

Walkaround Inspection: On April 1, 2024, OSHA published its final rule clarifying the rights of employees to designate a non-employee representative to be present during an OSHA workplace inspection. The final rule will become effective May 31, 2024. As expected, a lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups on May 21, challenging the constitutionality of the rule by arguing that it exceeds OSHA’s authority and further seeking to enjoin the rule from taking effect on May 31.

Emergency Responders: In February 2024, OSHA proposed a new rule that would update, centralize, and broaden the Fire Brigades Standard and other standards covering emergency responders. Comments on the proposed standard were initially set to close on May 6, 2024 but have been extended to June 21, 2024.

Workplace Violence in Health Care: OSHA remains in the early stages of developing a potential workplace violence standard in health care and social assistance. On March 1, 2024, OSHA convened a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel and received input from various industry sectors, which is the initial step in formulating a new standard.

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