After over 12 years of rulemaking, on June 27, 2012, the draft final rules for the general industry power transmission standard, 29 C.F.R. 1910.269, and the construction standard for power transmission and distribution, 29 C.F.R. 1926 Subpart V were sent to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Specifically, within OMB, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is tasked with reviewing draft final rules from various federal agencies.
OIRA reviews draft final rules to ensure that such rules are consistent with applicable law and that the draft rules do not conflict with rules or actions of other federal agencies. Technically, OIRA has 90 days to review the draft final rules; however, the agency has been known to delay reviews of final rules long past 90 days. Once the draft final rules clear OIRA, OSHA will publish the final rules.
The revisions to 1910.269 and 1926 Subpart V are generally supported by both management and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Many parts of both standards are simply outdated and there is no denying that updated standards are welcomed in the industry.
The question remains whether the final rules will be issued prior to the November election or whether Washington politics will delay otherwise welcomed and much anticipated standards.
Note: This article was pulished in the August 2012 issue of the MSHA/OSHA Report.