OSHA to consider business concerns in finalizing MSD recordkeeping regs
After an extended comment period and a public forum on the proposed changes, OSHA officials plan to issue a final rule that would go into effect Jan. 1, 2011. Although many health and safety advocates support the regulations, business groups are concerned.
Karen Harned, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business' Small Business Legal Center, said the proposal raises red flags for small businesses. She said that for a small business owner, good-faith efforts to comply with the regulation would require significant time away from their offices.
"Small businesses lack the resources to hire specialized regulatory compliance staff," she said. "Furthermore, identifying whether or not an MSD was sustained or would be aggravated in the workplace will be far more difficult. Small business owners are not medical practitioners. OSHA's assertion that the responsible person would only take an additional one minute from the time they take now to mark the form fails to recognize that the time to make the injury determination will go up as well."
Susan M. Walthall, acting chief counsel for advocacy for the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, said many small employers lack the sophistication to read and analyze new federal regulations and many do not employ regulatory professionals who can perform this task.
"Accordingly, many small businesses will have to hire attorneys and consultants to advise and train them on the new requirements," she said. "Neither the full cost of time spent analyzing this new federal requirement nor costs associated with consultations are included in the analysis."
OSHA has indicated that the recordkeeping revisions are not a prelude to a new national ergonomics standard. However, Harned said, if the agency pursues regulation in some form, it should make a stronger effort to engage small businesses in the discussion process.
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May 27, 2010
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