[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 153 (Thursday, August 8, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 48342]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-19126]



[[Page 48342]]

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1908

[Docket No. OSHA-2010-0010]
RIN 1218-AC32


Consultation Agreements: Proposed Changes to Consultation 
Procedures

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Withdrawal of proposed rule; termination of rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 
published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on September 3, 2010, 
proposing to amend its regulations for the federally-funded On-site 
Consultation Program to: Clarify, so it more directly reflects the 
wording of section 21(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 
(OSH Act), the length of the exemption period provided to sites that 
have had their names removed from OSHA's Programmed Inspection 
Schedule; and to clarify the high priority enforcement cases when OSHA 
may initiate a non-programmed inspection at those sites that have 
achieved recognition and exemption status. The Agency has decided to 
withdraw the proposed rule.

DATES: This withdrawal becomes effective August 8, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For press inquiries: For press 
inquiries about this notice contact Mr. Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA 
Office of Communications, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-
1999 or Meilinger.Francis2@dol.gov.
    For general and technical information: Mr. Patrick Showalter, 
Director, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs, Office of 
Small Business Assistance, Room N-3660, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 
200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 
693-2220 or Showalter.Patrick@dol.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    OSHA administers and provides federal funding for the On-site 
Consultation Program, which offers free and confidential safety and 
health advice to small and medium sized businesses across the country, 
with priority given to high-hazard worksites. This program assists 
employers who may lack the resources to employ safety professionals, to 
comply with the requirements of the OSH Act, and to create safer and 
healthier workplaces. Trained safety and health professionals, provided 
either by state agencies or public universities, work with employers to 
identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance, and assist in 
establishing safety and health management systems. On-site Consultation 
services are separate from OSHA's enforcement activities and do not 
result in penalties or citations.
    The On-site Consultation Program's Safety and Health Achievement 
Recognition Program (SHARP) recognizes small employers who operate an 
exemplary safety and health management system. Employers who 
successfully complete a comprehensive On-site consultation visit, 
correct all hazards identified during the visit, and implement an 
ongoing safety and health program to identify and correct workplace 
hazards, may be recommended for and may receive SHARP status. Those 
that have received SHARP status will receive an exemption from OSHA's 
Programmed Inspection Schedule during a specified period. Acceptance of 
a worksite into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement that singles out a 
business as a model for worksite safety and health.
    In a NPRM, published on September 3, 2010, OSHA proposed revising 
its regulations for the On-site Consultation Program in the Federal 
Register (75 FR 54064-54069). The proposed rule included three new 
provisions. One provision in the proposal dealt with the types of high 
priority federal enforcement inspections that could interrupt an 
ongoing consultation visit. Another provision of the proposal dealt 
with the circumstances under which OSHA may conduct a high priority 
enforcement visit at a workplace that has either achieved SHARP 
recognition or is working towards it. The final issue in the proposal 
was the length of time an employer that has qualified for SHARP may be 
exempted from OSHA's Programmed Inspection Schedule. Although OSH Act 
section 21(d) authorizes a one-year exemption, OSHA has for many years 
exercised its inherent discretion over inspection scheduling to extend 
this exemption period to two years
    OSHA provided a 60-day comment period on the proposed rule. OSHA 
received 89 comments from various OSHA stakeholders including 
employers, organizations representing small business and other 
employers, labor unions and other worker safety advocates.

II. Reasons for Withdrawal of Proposed Rule

    All the changes OSHA had proposed were very minor in nature. 
However, many stakeholders expressed concern that the proposed changes 
would reduce an employer's incentive to participate in the On-site 
Consultation program. Several commentators expressed concerns that 
these changes would increase OSHA enforcement activities at worksites 
that have already demonstrated excellence in their safety and health 
management systems. Other commentators appeared to believe that the 
Agency was trying to eliminate exemptions entirely or take incentives 
away. OSHA did not intend any of these results. However, in light of 
the magnitude of the concerns expressed compared to the relatively 
minor changes OSHA intended, the Agency has decided to withdraw the 
proposed rule. All rulemaking participants agree with OSHA that the 
consultation program and the SHARP recognition program are valuable 
ways to assist and recognize small employers who are working to improve 
their workplaces. If the small changes OSHA proposed could have the 
effect of discouraging participation in the programs, the Agency does 
not believe it is worth amending the rule.

III. Authority and Signature

    David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for 
Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, directed the preparation 
of this notice. It is issued pursuant to 7(c), 8, 18, 21(d) and 23(g) 
of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 656, 657, 
667, 670 672) and Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-2012 (77 FR 3912), 
January 25, 2012; No. 3-2000 (65 FR 50017), No. 5-2007 (72 FR 31159).

    Signed at Washington, DC, on July 24, 2013.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2013-19126 Filed 8-7-13; 8:45 am]
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