The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has four new rules on deck, three of which the agency has issued final rules on, most of which take effect this year, but employers may have much longer to show compliance.
1. OSHA's big push has been on the silica rule, which we've been covering for awhile . A final version of the long-awaited rule was published in late March and is due to take effect June 23, 2016 , but employers in the construction industry have until June 23, 2017 to comply with the new requirements. Doing so may not be so onerous for residential contractors, even though industry groups have been putting up great resistance.
2. Just this past week, the final rule aimed at "nudging: employers to better track workplace injuries and illnesses. This new rule, which goes into effect Jan 1, 2017, requires employers to send OSHA injury and illness data. Currently employers are required to collect this information to have on hand for an inspector, should he or she visit the job site; under the new rule, employers will be required to send this information to OSHA.
3. On March 25 the final version of the latest Eye and Face Protection rule was published, which brings the agency up-to-date with the "current" eye and ear protection. The rule hadn't been updated previously since 1986, and was based on a 1968 version of the ANSI Standard. This rule went into effect on April 25, 2016.
4. A new "Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems rule" has been waiting in the wings for some time but currently is only waiting in the wings with no clear timeline on when it might be issued. If implemented, this rule is expected to update fall protection rules by taking into account recent innovations in harnesses, lanyards, and guardrail systems.