Sustained Outrage

Obama OSHA again stalls combustible dust rule

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Barack Obama

Back in late October, some in the media were jumping to praise a “burst of activity” by the Obama administration’s Labor Department to protect American workers. I wonder if those some folks have taken a look at the department’s latest semi-annual regulatory agenda, made public last week by the White House.

In particular, it’s worth looking at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s entry regarding its long-stalled rule to protect workers from the serious dangers of combustible dust.

OSHA reveals in this entry that it still hasn’t convened a promised panel to consider the rule’s potential impacts on small businesses.  And OSHA doesn’t plan to do so until at least April 2014.  The last we heard from OSHA, they were going to convene that panel in November.  Of course, way back in the fall of 2010, OSHA had said it would organize this panel by April 2011 … and it’s still never done so.

So the combustible dust rule — a proposal the U.S. Chemical Safety Board listed as its first-ever “most wanted” safety reform by OSHA — continues to go nowhere.