How long does it take for OSHA to develop standards – like for Workplace Violence?

Why OSHA standards take so long to develop

The Government Accountability office reports to Congress on items of interest to Congress and their constituents.  One area that was recently examined was how long it takes OSHA to update standards, or develop new standards.  Here’s a look at the results:

By: David LaHoda, April 30th, 2012

A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on why OSHA standards take, on average, more than seven years to complete found that “increased procedural requirements, shifting priorities, and a rigorous standard of judicial review” contributed to the lengthy time frame.

In responding to the GAO report, Randy Rabinowitz, OMB Watch’s director of regulatory policy said: “In the years since its creation, OSHA’s charge to protect workers from harm has been undermined by Kafkaesque demands for additional reviews of existing rules mandated by new statutes and executive orders,” according to The Hill. While OSHA’s internal inability to remain focused on priorities and regulatory follow-through was the counter argument presented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“While some of the changes, such as improving coordination with other agencies to leverage expertise, are within OSHA’s authority, others call for significant procedural changes that would require amending existing laws,” according tot he GAO report.

The GAO report recommended that that OSHA and NIOSH improve collaboration on researching occupational hazards. In that way OSHA could better “leverage NIOSH expertise in determining the needs for new standards and developing them.”

For the entire 55-page report go to http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-330

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