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OSHA Rule to Reduce Employer Burdens

June 10, 2011
Removing outdated requirements, streamlining and simplifying standards

OSHA has released a final rule it said streamlines and simplifies standards, as well as reduces employer burdens. The third release in the Standards Improvement Projects initiative, this release reviews OSHA regulations with the goal of improving and eliminating those that are confusing, outdated, duplicative, or inconsistent.

"OSHA estimates that the final rule, without reducing employee protection, will result in annual cost savings to employers exceeding $43 million and significant reductions in paperwork burden hours," according to Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels.

The new rule results in several changes to OSHA's existing respiratory protection standard, including aligning air cylinder testing requirements for self-contained breathing apparatuses, clarifying that aftermarket cylinders meet quality regulations, and clarifying information for employees using respirators when not required under the standard, and when it is mandatory.

The definition of "potable water" has also been updated and is consistent with the EPA's standards, and outdated requirements for hand dryers and the use of warm air have also been updated. A number of requirements for employers to transmit exposure and medical records to NIOSH have been eliminated since they were costly in storage and maintenance and did not serve a useful purpose.