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SIP III final rule coming soon, OSHA says

OSHA said late last month that it will soon publish a final rule streamlining and simplifying standards in an effort to reduce the burden on employers. It is the third in a series of Standards Improvement Projects (SIP) initiatives launched by the agency.

"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," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels.

"The new rule will result in several changes to OSHA's existing respiratory protection standard, including aligning air cylinder testing requirements for self-contained breathing apparatuses with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, clarifying that aftermarket cylinders meet National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health quality assurance requirements and clarifying that the provisions of Appendix D, which contains information for employees using respirators when not required under the standard, are mandatory if the employee chooses to use a respirator," OSHA added in a statement.

"Updates also will include deleting a number of requirements for employers to transmit exposure and medical records to NIOSH, thus saving NIOSH significant costs to store and maintain the records," OSHA noted. "According to NIOSH, these records did not serve a useful research purpose. The slings standards also will be updated and streamlined by requiring that employers use only slings marked with manufacturers' loading information."

No new requirements will be set by SIP III, the agency said, "so employers will be able to comply with it immediately."

06/01/2011