OSHA Withdraws Proposed Rule to Amend On-Site Consultation Program

Agency says changes may have discouraged employers from participating in the program.

August 7, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has withdrawn a proposed rule to amend its regulations for the federally funded On-site Consultation Program. OSHA says it is withdrawing this rule based on stakeholder concerns that proposed changes, though relatively minor, would discourage employers from participating in the program.

“The On-site Consultation Program, including recognition through the Safety and Health Recognition Program (SHARP), is a valuable way to assist small-business employers who are working to improve their workplaces,” says Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “We remain committed to encouraging participation in this program.”

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for 29 CFR 1908, Consultation Agreement, published Sept. 3, 2010, provided clarification of the length of the exemption period provided to recognized sites that have been removed from OSHA’s programmed inspection schedule and the initiation of certain unprogrammed inspections at both sites that have achieved recognition and sites undergoing a consultation visit.

OSHA administers and provides federal funding for the On-site Consultation Program, which offers free and confidential safety and health advice to small and medium-sized businesses across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. Employers who successfully complete a comprehensive on-site consultation visit correct all hazards identified during the visit and implement an ongoing safety and health program to identify and correct workplace hazards may achieve status in OSHA’s SHARP. Exemplary employers who receive SHARP status receive an exemption from OSHA’s programmed inspection schedule during a specified period.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education and assistance.