OSHA released its semiannual regulatory agenda in the December 20 Federal Register , and some of the items could directly affect compliance in healthcare facilities.
Most of the healthcare-related items are still in the pre-rule stage—meaning that approval, promulgation, and enforcement are at least a year, or years even, away. One agenda item, however, changes in the Hazard Communication standard concerning material safety data sheets, is scheduled for implementation in 2011.
Here is a status report on agenda items of interest to healthcare:
- Infectious Disease : OSHA’s work on this potential standard is still in the pre-rule stage. The agency expects to finish information gathering and analysis phases on public comments  by the end of December.
- Bloodborne Pathogens standard : This is a routine reevaluation of the standard under Regulatory Flexibility Act. Look for OSHA to complete information gathering and analysis on public comments  by May 2011.
- Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) : This proposal is vigorously supported by OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels. It focuses on prevention by requiring employers to find and fix hazards even if a specific standard does not exist.”OSHA believes that an injury and illness prevention program is a universal intervention that can be used in a wide spectrum of workplaces to dramatically reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries. Such programs have been shown to be effective in many workplaces in the United States and internationally” according to the agenda entry for this rule.
- Hazard Communication standard : Adopting the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) into the standard is in the final rule phase. Among other changes, the rule would require standardization of material safety data sheets, and warning label. Look for final action to occur by August, according to the agenda.
OSHA is holding an online Q&A on the regulatory agenda Wednesday, January 5, 2:30 p.m. ET. Click here to attend.