By Eric J. Conn and Beeta B. Lashkari
For the better part of 2023, OSHA has been working through the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) phase of its rulemaking to produce an Outdoor and Indoor Heat Illness Prevention Standard.
The SBREFA process is conducted by a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel composed of representatives from OSHA, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Office of Advocacy (Advocacy) of the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBAR Panel’s primary role is to collect input from Small Entity Representatives (SERs) and report and on the comments of SERs and the Panel’s findings as to issues related to small entity impacts and significant alternatives that accomplish the agency’s objectives while minimizing the impact on small entities. After the SBAR Panel meetings conclude, the panel writes and issues a report, which is delivered to the Head of OSHA for consideration. The report typically includes the panel’s findings and recommendations, as well as the list of SERs, the SERs’ written comments, results of any polling questions asked during the meetings, and the documents provided to the SERs.
SBAR Panel Reports contain recommendations for OSHA on the Panel’s analysis and on possible approaches to regulatory action that may minimize impacts on small entities. Of course, while focused on small entities, the report has significant implications for industry as a whole.
The SBREFA process for OSHA’s Outdoor and Indoor Heat Illness Prevention rulemaking is nearing its conclusion. The SBAR Panel convened numerous meetings SERs, received significant written comments from those SERs, and last week issued its SBAR Panel Report, formally transmitting it to Doug Parker, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA on November 3, 2023. The 332-page report is linked here and on OSHA’s Heat Injury and Illness SBREFA webpage (see the red banner at the top of the page). Continue reading
By Eric Conn, Kate McMahon, and Beeta Lashkari
On Friday, May 19, 2023, OSHA presented at the Small Business Administration’s (“SBA”) Small Business Labor Safety (OSHA/MSHA) Roundtable about OSHA’s Heat Illness Rulemaking. At the meeting, OSHA reported about the status of the rulemaking, including the heat working group’s (as led by sub-group two) recommendations regarding potential elements of a standard, as we describe below (see “NACOSH Heat Working Group Meeting” section below). OSHA also gave an update on its work regarding changes to its compliance materials, which are in line with the heat working group’s (as led by sub-group one) recommendations made to the full NACOSH committee, and then from the full NACOSH committee to OSHA, earlier this year.
Importantly, just as we predicted, during the SBA roundtable meeting, OSHA stated that it is working diligently to pull together materials to initiate the SBREFA process as soon as possible, and when asked about the timing of issuance of the final standard, specifically, whether that will not happen until 10-12 months at the earliest, OSHA stated that the SBREFA process will be happening very soon, and that the heat injury and illness prevention rulemaking is a high priority for this Administration.
As we mentioned previously, we have officially moved into what we are calling Phase 2 of the rulemaking, which covers all advocacy and information-sharing from today (the start of the SBREFA process) through issuance of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”). Here are some of the benefits Continue reading
By Eric J. Conn, Kate M. McMahon and Beeta B. Lashkari
On March 20th OSHA announced that it will hold a virtual meeting of the Heat Working Group (“Working Group”) of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (“NACOSH”) for later this week – on Thursday, April 27, 2023. We expect the Working Group presentation to include specific recommendations on potential elements of a Heat Injury and Illness Prevention standard. The full NACOSH committee will meet a little later, sometime in May (date TBD), likely to receive and vote on the recommendations of the Heat Working Group about a potential heat illness standard. NACOSH recommendations typically carry great weight with OSHA, and we expect OSHA will most certainly give them serious consideration. Indeed, we believe OSHA has delayed the start of its SBREFA process so that it can utilize the NACOSH recommendations in formulating the rulemaking package for participants in the SBREFA (more on that below). Accordingly, these Spring NACOSH meetings will be a major milestone in OSHA’s rulemaking process, as the recommendations from NACOSH are expected to set the foundation for OSHA to develop its proposed rule.
The April meetings also will be our first opportunity to get a real glimpse at the outline and terms of what a proposed Heat Injury and Illness Prevention rule will look like. On behalf of our Coalition, Conn Maciel Carey has registered to join the April meeting (and, once the date is confirmed and announced by OSHA, will register to the join the May meeting, as well). We will share an update on what we learn following each meeting.
As a brief recap, OSHA initiated its rulemaking on “Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Settings” on October 27, 2021, when OSHA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANPRM”) in the Federal Register. Comments on the ANPRM were due January 26, 2022. NACOSH has played an important role Continue reading
On Thursday, February 23, 2023, the attorneys in CMC’s Cal/OSHA Practice Group presented a webinar regarding an Annual Cal/OSHA Enforcement & Regulatory Update.
Cal/OSHA and the California legislature have continued to focus their efforts on extending workplace mandates associated with COVID-19, heat illness and wildfire smoke. This update will cover the transition from Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard to the Non-Emergency COVID-19 Rule as well as other workplace safety mandates that have been recently adopted or are under consideration.
Participants in this webinar learned: Continue reading
By Eric J. Conn and Beeta B. Lashkari
As we mentioned in our last update from December, OSHA continues to move swiftly on its rulemaking for a Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Standard in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings. We attended the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (“NACOSH”) committee meeting on January 10th, where the Committee primarily addressed recommendations and updates from NACOSH’s Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Work Group (“Work Group”), and wanted to provide you this update.
As a reminder, the NACOSH Work Group was split into two sub-groups – one addressing Task 1 of the Charge to the Work Group (evaluating and providing input and recommendations for compliance assistance materials about heat illness prevention), and the other sub-group addressing Task 2 (developing key recommendations on potential elements of a Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Standard for OSHA to consider). As expected, only the sub-group addressing Task 1 (“Compliance Assistance Work Group”) delivered its recommendations to the full NACOSH committee during the January 10th meeting. The sub-group addressing Task 2 (“Rulemaking Work Group”) – which is the sub-group more important to our Coalition – reiterated that it is still in the process of developing recommendations, to which OSHA responded with some strong words. More on that below.
To start, the Compliance Assistance Work Group presented its findings and recommendations to the full NACOSH Committee, which the Committee approved unanimously without changes. Four of the ten recommendations aim to improve OSHA’s guidance on heat dangers, urging the agency to: Continue reading
By Beeta B. Lashkari and Eric J. Conn
With the winter holidays upon us, heat illness may not be front and center on your minds, but OSHA continues to be push full steam ahead on its rulemaking for a Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Standard in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings, so we wanted to provide you a quick update.
In September, OSHA had drafted but not yet released a summary document of all of the 1,078 comments the agency had received in response to the ANPRM. That summary document is now publicly available, posted on December 16, 2022 on the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (“NACOSH”) docket for its Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Work Group. Below are some highlights from the summary document.
Notably, our Coalition’s written comments were referenced 14 times in the summary document, including for the following propositions: Continue reading