OSHA Withdraws Proposed Changes to On-site Consultation Program

Order Reprints

Aug. 22, 2013—The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has withdrawn a proposed rule to amend its regulations for the federally funded on-site consultation program.

The on-site consultation program offers free safety and health advice to small businesses. Employers who successfully complete a comprehensive on-site consultation and correct all identified hazards are eligible to achieve status in OSHA’s Safety and Health Recognition Program (SHARP). Exemplary employers who receive SHARP status receive an exemption from OSHA’s programmed inspection schedule during a specified period.

The proposed rule change, published Sept. 3, 2010, would have allowed OSHA to perform unscheduled inspections of shops that have achieved recognition and shops undergoing a consultation visit.

OSHA’s decision to withdraw the rule proposal was based on concerns that the changes would discourage employer participation in the program.

On behalf of small-business groups, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy sent a letter to OSHA expressing concern about the proposed rule changes. The SBA letter outlined that the enforcement inspections by OSHA could discourage small business participation in the program.

The proposed regulation and the SBA’s letter can be viewed at takingthehill.com.

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