The Lowdown on I2P2

  editor |   Laws & Regulations

About The Expert

Glenn Demby is an OSHA attorney and editor-in-chief of SafetySmart Compliance

QUESTION:

Glenn: ‘Love your site. Can you tell me what’s going on with I2P2? Do you expect OSHA to adopt the standard any time soon?

ANSWER:

No.

EXPLANATION:

Of all the new standards OSHA is working on, I2P2, the Illness and Injury Prevention Program standard, is the one I’d be most worried about if I were an employer—especially the “find and fix” parts requiring employers to identify, assess and control any workplace hazards. In addition to imposing significant new burdens, I2P2 would create something like a “general duty clause” for hazard assessment by giving OSHA discretion to cite employers for failing to assess and control hazards not covered by specific OSHA standards.

The I2P2 Chronology

I2P2 has been on the table for more than 2 years. Here’s the chronology:

  • April 2010: Secretary Michaels first broaches the idea of an I2P2 standard.
  • June to August 2010: OSHA holds stakeholder meetings on I2P2.

Next comes a lull lasting 16 months that ends in:

  • January 2012: OSHA issues white paper making its case for I2P2 and kicks off SBREFA (Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act) review, i.e., the mandatory process of summoning small business input before federal agencies propose new regulations, to begin in March;
  • March 2012: OSHA calls for “temporary delay” of SBREFA review.

Current Status

As of today, OSHA hasn’t rescheduled the SBREFA review date. And because OSHA can’t propose a rule until SBREFA review is complete, the plan to issue an I2P2 NPR (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) this spring is all but dead.

Fortunately or unfortunately—depending on your point of view, the same can’t be said for I2P2 itself. We could still see an I2P2 proposal as early as the summer, depending on when SBREFA review happens. Assuming a minimum of 12 months between the end of the 3 month comment period and final rulemaking, a final I2P2 proposal could come as early as the second half of 2013.

My Expectations for I2P2

My theory: OSHA won’t even issue an NPR until after the election ends.

Although as a matter of safety it might be the best thing since sliced bread, I2P2 is anathema with the business community. And in an election year, it’s highly unlikely that the Administration will expend the political capital to bring it to fruition.

A Romney victory would bury I2P2 for the next 4 years; but if the President is re-elected, I2P2 will surely be high on the OSHA agenda and receive the political “love” and resources it’s not getting now.

At least that’s my prediction. Only time will tell if I’m right.

 
 
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