Inside OSHA

December 8, 2023


EPA staff are weighing whether individual industrial sectors can “effectively administer” stringent workplace chemical exposure limits as they craft the agency’s ongoing raft of TSCA risk management rules amid a barrage of objections from industry that the proposals are too strict, according to one source with knowledge of the toxics program’s work.

Latest News

The semiconductor industry is urging the White House to limit workplace safety provisions in EPA’s upcoming TSCA rule for the solvent n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) to codifying the sector’s existing practices, arguing that those safeguards already reduce exposures to near zero.

South Carolina is doubling down on its arguments that a pending Supreme Court case over the Administrative Procedure Act's (APA) statute of limitations could ease its challenge to OSHA's mandate for states to match annual increases to federal OSH Act penalties.

A Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel that OSHA convened to gather input on its long-awaited heat safety standard has issued a report laying out a wide range of recommendations for the rulemaking, such as flexibility for employers to tailor worker protection plans to their sectors and generous exemptions for small companies.

Administrative law experts say they expect the Supreme Court will issue a narrow ruling in litigation seeking to limit agency adjudications via administrative law judges (ALJs), tamping down expectations that the case, focused on the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), could have sweeping implications for OSHA and other agencies.

California OSHA (Cal/OSHA) staff are developing stakeholder reports that will aim to justify their pending proposal to strengthen worker-safety rules for lead exposure in the construction and general industry sectors, including a claim that the tighter requirements would avoid 31 deaths and hundreds of job-related illnesses over 10 years.

Conservative justices on the Supreme Court appear sympathetic to claims that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) use of administrative law judges (ALJs) violates the 7th Amendment right to a jury trial, but during Nov. 28 oral argument they wrestled with how to craft a new test for the practice amid fears that a broad ruling could upend review of OSHA and other agencies’ enforcement actions.

An industry attorney is highlighting novel language in EPA’s proposed TSCA rule for the solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) that requires companies to limit worker exposures only “to the extent possible” as evidence that its occupational exposure standard is unworkably strict, underlining likely objections to the policy from trade groups and employers.

OSHA is urging a federal district court to reject any link between South Carolina’s latest suit over the federal mandate for states to match their annual penalty increases to federal OSH Act penalties and a pending Supreme Court case that could greatly extend the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA) statute of limitations for rule challenges.

California OSHA (Cal/OSHA) is proposing to exempt short-term “incidental” exposures from its proposed first-time employee-safety rules for heat illness prevention at indoor worksites, but employer groups that sought the change are now calling on the state to expand it further, saying the current version is highly limited and fails to address their concerns.