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OSHA Withdraws Two Important Workplace Safety Proposals

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at the U.S. Department of Labor recently withdrew two separate proposals that are key to safety at the workplace. On January 25, the agency temporarily withdrew a proposed regulation that would have reinstated a column on work-related employer logs that would have required employers to record their workers’ musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Likewise, a proposal to rehabilitate the workplace standard of loud noise hazards, possibly resulting in hearing loss, was also withdrawn earlier in the month.

Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health,
stressed that although MSDs are the most common amongst workplace injuries, “it is clear that the proposal has raised concern among small businesses, so OSHA is facilitating an active dialogue between the agency and the small business community.” OSHA and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy are scheduled to hold a meeting with small businesses from across the country via telephone and/or a Web forum about this proposal.

In regards to the withdrawn noise standard proposal, Michaels commented that although hearing loss caused by loud noise in the workplace is a significant problem, he stated, “it is clear from the concerns raised about this proposal that addressing this problem requires much more public outreach and many more resources than we had originally anticipated…and have decided to suspend work on this proposed modification while we study other approaches to abating workplace noise hazards.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2008, noise hazards in the workplace caused over 22,000 workers to have partial or permanent hearing loss.

Michaels has confirmed that OSHA is committed to each of these issues and continues to investigate ways to prevent hearing loss for workers in addition to having workplace injuries reported in a more detailed and thorough manner.

Sources:

US Labor Department’s OSHA temporarily withdraws proposed column for work-related musculoskeletal disorders, reaches out to small businesses, OSHA Trade News Release, January 25, 2011
US Department of Labor’s OSHA withdraws proposed interpretation on occupational noise, Agency examines other approaches to prevent work-related hearing loss, OSHA Trade News Release, January 19, 2011
Contact the Massachusetts work injury lawyers at Altman & Altman if you have been injured on the job.

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