In one of the Trump administration’s first official acts, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memorandum on January 20, 2017 implementing an immediate freeze on all pending regulations until they have been reviewed and further action has been approved by President Trump’s new agency heads. Regulatory freezes during a change in administration are not uncommon, and President Obama issued a virtually identical memorandum upon taking office in 2009. However, the Trump administration’s directive takes on additional significance, as it appears to be the symbolic start of President Trump’s efforts to make good on his campaign promise of eliminating what he has characterized as overly-burdensome regulations. It also marks his first steps toward rolling back key components of President Obama’s regulatory agenda, including a number of labor and employment initiatives put in place by the Department of Labor and the Occupational
Blog Posts by Alexandra M. Romero
On December 29, 2016, a three-judge panel from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit unanimously vacated two OSHA citation items issued to a Delek Refining Ltd. (“Delek”) facility for alleged safety violations that occurred years prior to its ownership of the refinery. The decision is a significant victory for employers because it marks the second time that a federal appeals court has rejected OSHA’s attempt to allege the existence of a “continuing violation” that suspends the six-month statute of limitations contained in the OSH Act.
Recently, the California Division of Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board approved a new safety standard designed to provide comprehensive regulatory protections for workers exposed to workplace violence in healthcare settings. The standard, which was sponsored by several labor unions, will require covered healthcare providers to develop workplace violence prevention plans, training programs, and recordkeeping procedures to track certain incidents of workplace violence.
In a major blow to OSHA’s ongoing efforts to modify existing safety and health standards through informal agency guidance, a unanimous panel of federal judges recently invalidated a July 2015 OSHA memorandum that had significantly narrowed the Process Safety Management standard’s retail facility exemption. Retail facilities have been exempt from the PSM standard since its May 1992 promulgation, based on the understanding that hazardous chemicals are usually only present in such facilities in small quantities that are not likely to create a risk of a catastrophic release. In 1992, OSHA issued a letter defining retail facilities as those deriving 50% or more of their income from direct sales of highly hazardous chemicals to end users.
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