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GAO Publishes Study on OSHA Standard-Setting Process

Posted in on Thu, May 31, 2012

(See also item on Senate HELP Hearing on this subject.)

At the request of Congress, the General Accountability Office (GAO) studied why it takes OSHA so long to finalize a standard.  “Between 1981 and 2010, the time it took the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop and issue safety and health standards ranged widely, from 15 months to 19 years, and averaged more than 7 years,” the report said.  Although the report examined a variety of reasons stakeholders thought contributed to the difficulty, its recommendation focused on only one issue:

To enhance collaboration and streamline the development of OSHA’s occupational safety and health standards, the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services should instruct the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health and the Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to develop a more formal means of collaboration between the two agencies. Specifically, the two agencies should establish a more consistent and sustained relationship through a formal agreement, such as a Memorandum of Understanding, allowing OSHA to better leverage NIOSH’s capacity as a primary research institution when building the scientific record required for standard setting.

Read the report at

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