OSHA cancels some regs to reduce paperwork

Creates savings for employers

The Occupational Safety and Health Admini-stration (OSHA) in Washington, DC, recently canceled many outdated and duplicative regulations, resulting in savings of almost $10 million annually and the elimination of thousands of hours of paperwork for employers.

The reductions are the latest step in OSHA's standards improvement project, which so far has eliminated 1,081 pages of OSHA regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations. The effort is part of OSHA's recent commitment to "common sense regulation," says OSHA administrator Charles Jeffress.

Like other federal agencies, OSHA is responding to a 1995 presidential directive that requires all federal agencies to update their regulations and eliminate any that are unneeded. OSHA originally promised to eliminate 1,049 pages from the Code of Federal Regulations by revoking duplicative and repetitive standards, and by revising the standards that do not apply to current industry practices.

The latest action eliminates several standards that cover hazards outside of OSHA's jurisdiction, such as the transportation of certain chemicals and explosives that are covered by standards from the Department of Transportation.

OSHA also has changed or removed some medical tests that were required by standards covering arsenic and coke oven emissions to more accurately reflect current practice in those industries.

These are some of the changes:

r Emergency response provisions of the vinyl chloride standard are being changed so they will conform with the standard on hazardous waste operations and emergency response.

r Rules for safety measures workers must take when they enter confined spaces in pulp and paper mills are being changed to make them consistent with the more performance-oriented "permit-required confined spaces" standard, which requires the use of attendants and lifelines.

r Public safety measures in the temporary labor camp standards are being eliminated because they do not fall within OSHA's jurisdiction.

r Unnecessary cross-references are being eliminated from the standards for the textile industry and other standards.

OSHA also is eliminating provisions in OSHA's standards for first aid and medical services that require a consulting physician's approval for certain first aid supplies. The requirement had applied only in cases where there was no infirmary, clinic, or hospital near the work site. OSHA estimates that only 10% of work sites were affected by the requirement.