Trump Administration Halts Proposed OSHA Safety Rules

- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) last month announced it was cutting a series of proposed worker-safety rulemakings, fulfilling President Trump’s promises to deregulate industries across the board.

OSHA’s spring regulatory agenda dropped rulemaking efforts regarding exposure to combustible dust, construction noise, vehicles backing up in construction sites and factories, and new procedures on how the agency adopts permissible limits for chemicals.

Other rulemakings have survived a full strike from the agenda, but have been indefinitely moved to the long-term actions list where they will likely not receive any further attention. This includes rulemakings covering emergency response and preparedness, infectious diseases in health care, and a rule altering existing rules on cranes and derricks in construction.

Some business and industry representatives, who have long been lobbying for a loosening of regulations, applauded the administration.

“This suggests that the agency is taking a responsible approach to regulating and trying to focus on those areas where there is the most need, and to do so in a way that respects the various interests at stake,” Marc Freedman, executive director of labor law policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told Bloomberg BNA.

However, many unions and workers representatives, though unsurprised by the moves from the Trump White House, are prepared to fight rollbacks to the OSHA agenda.

“They are implementing what they said they would do, which is to move aggressively on deregulation,” Peg Seminario, safety and health director at the AFL-CIO, stated to Bloomberg BNA. “So for anybody who thought that President Trump didn't mean what he said, this is one area where he is fully keeping his campaign promises.”

“What you see is, basically, that the Trump administration is abandoning protecting workers from health and safety hazards,” Seminario continued. “They're turning their backs on the future.”

The shift is in-line with other recent measures by the Trump administration, including similar rollbacks to the DOT agenda.

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