Issue Date: September 8, 2008
Labor Proposes New Risk Assessment Rule
The Department of Labor is moving forward with a proposed regulation that critics say will make it harder to protect workers from exposure to toxic chemicals. The agency claims that the regulation will streamline how OSHA and the Mine Safety & Health Administration assess workers' risks of exposure to hazardous substances and promote public input into the rulemaking process. Labor unions, public health experts, and some members of Congress have been trying to stop Labor from issuing the controversial rule since it surfaced on the White House Office of Management & Budget's website last July. They argue the regulation will provide more opportunities for industry to challenge and delay worker safety rules. At issue are a change in the definition of a working life from 45 years to the average number of years worked for a particular industry, a requirement for uncertainty analysis, and a narrower definition of adverse effects.
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