For Immediate Release Contact: Diane Hurns, 847-768-3413, dhurns@asse.org
ASSE Supports New Labor Department Rulemaking on Health Standards
Des Plaines, IL (October 1, 2008) — The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) support the U.S. Department of Labor’s recent rulemaking requiring the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), when developing a health standard regulating occupational exposure to a toxic substance or hazardous chemical, to add a new step to the rulemaking process by publishing A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) seeking relevant scientific information, to evaluate the information received, and to post the information electronically.

In a letter to DOL Secretary Elaine Chao this week, ASSE President Warren K. Brown, CSP, ARM, CSHM, said ASSE supports this proposal because it provides an additional opportunity for the regulated community to review and, if necessary, object to an exposure requirement that employers and safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professionals they hire have responsibility for managing.

“When OSHA and MSHA inspections, citations and fines impacting an employer’s competitiveness and an SH&E professionals ability to add value to the employers efforts can be affected, the reasonable extra step in rulemaking offered in this proposal is not an impediment to setting quality health standards,” Brown added. “In any action pursued by a regulatory agency, the more transparency in the regulatory process that can be achieved, the better the outcome and the more certain the assurance that resulting regulations will be reasonable and help employers and SH&E professionals advance occupational safety and health.”

The Requirements for DOL Agencies' Assessment of Occupational Health Risks published in the August 29, 2008 Federal Register, also states an ANPR seeking public input on studies, scientific information, data describing the frequency, intensity and duration of exposure of workers in the affected industries and occupations, key default factors and assumptions, and other relevant information, prior to issuing any regulatory action on the health rulemaking, must be published.

To view the rule please go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/ContentViewer?objectId=09000064806e4f71&disposition=attachment&contentType=html.

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information please go to www.asse.org.

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Phone 847.699.2929 • Fax 847.296.3769 • www.asse.org