Public comments requested

1. Procedures for handling retaliation complaints under the Food Safety Modernization Act

OSHA has published an interim final rule establishing procedures and time frames for handling retaliation complaints under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). OSHA invites the public to submit comments on the interim final rule.

FSMA, signed into law Jan. 2011, provides employees who disclose information about a possible violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act with protection against retaliation from businesses engaged in the manufacture, processing, packing, transporting, distribution, reception, holding, or importation of food.

This interim final rule establishes procedures, burdens of proof, remedies, and statutes of limitations similar to other whistleblower protection statutes that OSHA administers.

Individuals may submit comments electronically at the Federal eRulemaking Portal or via mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for details. Comments must be submitted by April 14, 2014.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace, commercial motor vehicle, airline, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, railroad, public transportation, maritime, consumer product, motor vehicle safety, health care reform, corporate securities, food safety, and consumer financial reform regulations. Additional information is available here.

2. Proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses

OSHA has announced that the comment period on the proposed rule to improve workplace safety and health through improved tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses will close on March 10, 2014. The comment period was originally scheduled to close March 8. However, this date falls on a Saturday. OSHA will accept comments submitted by March 10 as timely submittals.

The proposed rule would amend OSHA's recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep.

Comments may be submitted electronically at the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for more details.

3. Proposed rule to extend compliance date for crane operator certification requirements

OSHA has issued a proposed rule to extend the compliance date for the crane operator certification requirement by three years to Nov. 10, 2017. The proposal would also extend to the same date the existing phase-in requirement that employers ensure that their operators are qualified to operate the equipment.

OSHA issued a final standard on requirements for cranes and derricks in construction work on Aug. 9, 2010. The standard requires crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by Nov. 10, 2014. After OSHA issued the standard, a number of parties raised concerns about the qualification/certification requirements. After conducting several public meetings, OSHA decided to extend the enforcement date so that the certification requirements do not take effect during potential rulemaking or cause disruption to the construction industry.

Comments may submitted electronically at the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal or by facsimile or mail. See the Federal Register notice for submission details and additional information about this proposed rule. Comments must be submitted by March 12, 2014.

OSHA held three stakeholder meetings on operator certification/qualification issues in April 2013 and posted detailed notes of the meetings here. A list of frequently asked questions are also posted on OSHA's Cranes and Derricks in Construction Web page to provide additional clarification and address some comments and concerns raised by stakeholders.