Our Road Map to Sensible and Effective Regulations

Filed in Jobs by on May 26, 2011 2 Comments

Earlier this year, President Obama issued an Executive Order that outlined his vision for a 21st century regulatory system that protects the American people in a pragmatic and cost-effective way.  He asked each Federal agency to review regulations already on our books, and remove those that were out-of-date, unnecessary, duplicative, confusing, or overly burdensome.

The Labor Department’s regulatory work is guided by Secretary Solis’ vision of Good Jobs for Everyone.  We make sure workers across our country stay safe and healthy at their jobs; workers keep what they rightfully earn when they are working and in retirement; and employers deal fairly with their workers, including by allowing them a voice in the workplace.  Our regulatory agenda is one critical tool in translating our Good Jobs vision into reality.

The regulations we promulgate and enforce have real-world consequences.  Each rule we propose must be followed by employers, and successful implementation of regulations sometimes requires the investment of resources.  Always, our ultimate test is whether a regulation will result in a safer, healthier, more equitable, fairer, and more productive workplace without placing an undue burden on those who create jobs.  So, the President’s executive order reinforced a basic precept of the Labor Department’s regulatory approach.

Today, the Labor Department proudly announces our road map to ensure that the regulations we create and enforce are sensible, effective, and responsible.   Our programmatic and regulatory efforts strike this balance best when they are developed with input from all of our stakeholders: labor and management, workers and employers, academics and policy experts, scientists and our colleagues in other agencies.  So, with the release of our regulatory review road map, we invite you to learn more about the Labor Department’s regulatory strategy and offer your views about how we might do even better.

Before you review the road map, I would like to highlight a few specific regulations and initiatives that offer good illustrations of what we are trying to accomplish in our regulatory review process.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will launch its fourth ‘Standards Improvement Project,’ with a focus on revising and improving construction industry standards by removing unnecessary or conflicting regulations. To launch SIP IV, OSHA will release a request for information to immediately begin soliciting stakeholder input.

OSHA is also making a commitment to modify hazards communications standards by harmonizing classifications, data sheet formats, and warning labels with international standards.  OSHA expects this regulation will increase business efficiency while reducing operating and production costs for employers, saving them between $585 million and $798 million.

As a final example, DOL’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will begin reviewing regulations governing approval of electrical products in underground mines.  Some of these rules have remained unchanged since 1968.  MSHA will review the regulations with an eye towards streamlining and clarifying the approval process, so that cutting edge technology can be more quickly installed in our nation’s mines.  These changes won’t just save equipment manufacturers and mine operators money.  Better electrical equipment will ultimately make work safer for our nation’s miners.

With the release of DOL’s regulatory retrospective plan, we are laying out our approach to common sense and effective regulation. We are also committed to welcoming input from all of our stakeholders in this process.  The Labor Department is not just looking back.  Moving forward, our regulatory approach will be driven by effectiveness, responsibility, and sound judgment.  These efforts reflect a new way of doing business which we believe will result in better outcomes for workers and employers.

Please visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/regulatoryreform

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Comments (2)

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  1. Celeste Monforton says:

    In Mr. Cass Sunstein’s op-ed in today’s WSJ, he says that OSHA “…is announcing today that it is eliminating over 1.9 million annual hours of redundant reporting burdens on employers, saving tens of millions of dollars every year. ” Is this the HazCom item you mention above (i.e., saving employers between $585 million and $798 million)?

  2. Some of the better rersources OSHA has made available on their website are their electronic OSHA Expert Advisor programs. They have them available to guide users to make good decisions about complince with standards such as confined space entry, injury and illness recordkeeping, and more. Thank you,

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