OSHA Rewrites Respiratory Standards, Streamlines Required Paperwork

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been busy recently, overhauling many of its standards via the Standard Improvement Project (SIP). On June 8, OSHA published Phase III of the SIP, drolly titled “Final Rules”. Interestingly enough, the Final Rules portion of the overhaul does not feature any new requirements. Instead, this SIP-Phase III looks at streamlining paperwork and other hindrances to compliance with OSHA’s regulations and standards.

So what does this mean for the average painting or coating contractor? We’re glad you asked! As you may have guessed from the title, OSHA has revised its respiratory protection/air quality testing standards to match those of the US Department of Transportation (businesses no longer have to meet two sets of standards). OSHA also clarified some respiratory standards related to aftermarket quality assurance and an employer’s responsibility when employees choose to use respirators when none are required by law. Beyond the respiratory standards overhaul, OSHA also updated their definition of “potable water”, removed outdated requirements related to the levels of heat coming out of hand dryers and removed several medical records requirements from the commercial-diving section of the standards.

OSHA claims that these standards updates will save businesses more than $43 million annually. Only time will tell if these estimates are correct, but it’s great to see OSHA reviewing their own standards and making it easier for businesses to comply with their regulations. How will these new rules affect your business?