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 and Beeta B. Lashkari
OSHA’s rulemaking for an outdoor and indoor heat illness prevention rule continues to chug along, so we wanted to provide a quick review of the latest developments. Of particular note, two meetings of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety & Health (NACOSH) focused on heat illness and the heat illness rulemaking were held on June 30th. Conn Maciel Carey’s Employers Heat Illness Prevention Coalition participated in both.
Here is a copy of the as-filed comments we submitted to OSHA in advance of these NACOSH meetings, reiterating our previously submitted comments, and requesting to speak at the June 30th NACOSH meeting (which request was granted).
The meetings were well attended by NACOSH committee members and OSHA staff, and included appearances from Andy Levinson (Acting Director, OSHA Directorate of Standards and Guidance), Lisa Long (Acting Deputy Director, OSHA Directorate of Standards and Guidance), Carla Marcellus (Office of Maritime and Agriculture), and Jennifer Levin (Committee Counsel, Office of the Solicitor). Kate McMahon and Beeta Lashkari attended on behalf of our Coalition. The first meeting was for public listening only, and Kate was one of only two public stakeholders who spoke at the second meeting, and the only employers’ representative to do so.
Here are the key takeaways from the two meetings, as well as a summary of the public statements we made to the NACOSH committee: Continue reading
By Beeta Lashkari and Eric Conn
Last week, on April 12, 2022, OSHA announced that it has launched an enforcement National Emphasis Program (“NEP”) for Outdoor and Indoor Heat-Related Hazards. The Heat Illness NEP applies to both indoor and outdoor workplaces, including general industry, construction, maritime, and agriculture. The NEP is already in effect – as of April 8th – even before OSHA made its April 12th announcement, and will remain in effect for three years unless canceled or extended by a superseding directive.
Secretary of Labor Walsh, joined by Vice President Harris, announced this new enforcement program at a speech at the Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 Training Center in Philadelphia with these remarks:
“Tragically, the three-year average of workplace deaths caused by heat has doubled since the early 1990s. These extreme heat hazards aren’t limited to outdoor occupations, the seasons or geography. From farm workers in California to construction workers in Texas and warehouse workers in Pennsylvania, heat illness – exacerbated by our climate’s rising temperatures – presents a growing hazard for millions of workers…. This enforcement program is another step towards our goal of a federal heat standard. Through this work, we’re also empowering workers with knowledge of their rights, especially the right to speak up about their safety without fear of retaliation.”
Below is an analysis of the mechanics of OSHA’s Heat Illness NEP: Continue reading