OSHA recently released its semiannual regulatory agenda items and some of them could directly affect compliance in healthcare facilities. Most of the healthcare-related items are still in the pre-rule stage meaning that approval, promulgation, and enforcement are at least a year, or years even, away. One agenda item, however, changes in the Hazard Communication standard concerning material safety data sheets, is scheduled for implementation in 2011.
Here is a status report on agenda items of interest to healthcare:
(1) Infectious Disease: OSHA's work on this potential standard is still in the pre-rule stage. The agency expects to finish the information gathering and analysis phases on public comments by the end of December.
(2) Bloodborne Pathogens Standard: This is a routine reevaluation of the standard under the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
(3) Hazard Communication Standard: Adopting the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) into the standard is in the final rule phase. Among other changes, the rule would require a standardization of material safety data sheets and warning labels.