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Mark Carpenter
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by ISRI Safety | Mar 28, 2017

OSHA’s Volks Rule Overturned by Congressional Review Act

The resolution passed the House of Representatives on March 1, 2017 and adopted by the Senate under the Congressional Review Act, nullifies the rule. The resolution will now head to President Donald Trump to sign, who has indicated he will sign the resolution

Beryllium Rule

ISRI members will have some additional time to comply with the new beryllium rule. 

OSHA has decided to delay the effective date of its beryllium rule from March 21, 2017 to May 20, 2017.

The additional 60 days is in line with a White House memo, “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,” issued Jan. 20, 2017. The memo directs federal agencies to review any new or pending regulations and temporarily postpone their effective dates.

The delay will allow OSHA to further review and consider the rule.

OSHA published the final beryllium rule on Jan. 9, 2017.

Employers have one year from the effective date to implement most of the standard’s provisions. Some exceptions: Change room and shower requirements begin two years after the effective date; engineering control requirements begin three years after the effective date.

The rule reduces the eight-hour permissible exposure limit from the previous 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³) to 0.2 µg/m³. The rule also establishes a short-term exposure limit of 2.0 µg/m³ over a 15-minute sampling period. The previous exposure limit for beryllium was established 40 years ago.

The new rule also faces a court challenge.  Materion Corp., the U.S.’s largest producer of beryllium, has filed a petition in federal court seeking review of the new standard. Two other companies have filed similar petitions.

The Congressional Record Act and OSHA

The Congressional Review Act gives Congress the ability to overturn agency rules adopted in the previous 60 legislative days, meaning the legislature can review past administration regulations submitted to Congress as far back as mid-June 2016 when factoring in Congressional recesses. OSHA rules that fall within the review window include the beryllium rule, which the Trump administration has already proposed delaying till May 20, 2017, and the slips, trips and falls rule.

However, that window does not stretch back far enough to include more controversial regulations such as OSHA’s silica and the electronic record-keeping rules although both regulations are facing legal challenges that could impact their future.

ISRI Safety Staff will continue to monitor OSHA regulatory activities and provide information to the membership as it becomes available.