Labor Department Withdraws Occupational Health Risk Assessment Rule

By Staff Report

Sep. 2, 2009

The U.S. Department of Labor has withdrawn a proposed rule that would have affected how federal agencies conduct occupational health risk assessments.

Among other measures, the controversial rule would have required the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration to publish an advance notice of proposed rule-making for all regulatory actions regarding toxic substances or chemicals in the workplace.

Critics argued that the Labor Department under former President George W. Bush pushed the proposal through with little public input. They also argued that it would have stalled new work safety regulations.

In the August 31 Federal Register, the Labor Department said that, based on a careful review, it decided the proposed rule is unnecessary and that it is more useful “to continue describing its internal risk assessment policies through guidance rather than through promulgation of a regulation.”

Filed by Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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