Hazard Communications Standard

Hazard Communications Standard

Score
24 / 60
40%
Proposed Rule
RIN Number:
1218-AC20
Release Date:
September 30, 2009
Closing Date:
December 29, 2009
Agency:
Department of Labor

RULE SUMMARY

This proposed rule would modify OSHA's existing Hazard Communication Standard to conform with the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and for safety data sheets; and related revisions to definition of terms used in the standard, requirements for employee training, and safety data sheets. OSHA is also proposing to modify provisions of a number of other standards, including those for flammable and combustible liquids, process safety management, and most substance-specific health standards, to ensure consistency with the modified requirements.


METHODOLOGY

There are twelve criteria within our evaluation within three broad categories: Openness, Analysis and Use. For each criterion, the evaluators assign a score ranging from 0 (no useful content) to 5 (comprehensive analysis with potential best practices). Thus, each analysis has the opportunity to earn between 0 and 60 points.

Criterion Score

Openness

1. How easily were the RIA , the proposed rule, and any supplementary materials found online?
RIN 1218-AC20 can be found from regulations.gov using RIN and using a keyword search. It can be found on the Department of Labor's Website by searching with the RIN and the title.
5/5
2. How verifiable are the data used in the analysis?
Data can be found by searching source documents in the docket on regulations.gov, which are mostly consultant reports. But then further work is required to find the original data sources. A number of citations do not include links to publicly available sources.
2/5
3. How verifiable are the models and assumptions used in the analysis?
The assumptions and models are not easily verified because they either cite evidence from the 1983 standard or use assumptions that appear arbitrary.
2/5
4. Was the analysis comprehensible to an informed layperson?
The analysis is well organized and understandable with a little effort, perhaps because the regulation itself was not that complicated.
4/5

Analysis

5. How well does the analysis identify the desired outcomes and demonstrate that the regulation will achieve them?
2/5
Does the analysis clearly identify ultimate outcomes that affect citizens’ quality of life?
The analysis lists the illnesses and injuries that are expected to be reduced for workers who may come in contact with hazardous chemicals and describes how the regulation will improve the clarity and reduce the confusion of the existing hazardous warning system leading to major gains in productivity.
4/5
Does the analysis identify how these outcomes are to be measured?
OSHA's existing safety data system collects some of these data, but according to OSHA the present system is confusing and not harmonized with other agencies that have overlapping hazardous warning systems. It also does not work well for chronic illnesses, which OSHA claims is the major health benefit, and does not identify how the productivity benefits to industry will be measured, which OSHA estimates is over five times the costs to industry.
2/5
Does the analysis provide a coherent and testable theory showing how the regulation will produce the desired outcomes?
OSHA assumes that worker behavior will become more prudent but offers no testable way to determine whether that will actually happen in practice.
1/5
Does the analysis present credible empirical support for the theory?
OSHA assumes with no empirical support cited that there will be a one percent improvement in the health and safety estimates originally estimated for the 1983 hazard communications standard. OSHA assumes this even though it never measured whether the 1983 standard had a positive impact on health and even though a reason for the new standard is that the earlier standards were confusing to workers and did not work that well.
1/5
Does the analysis adequately assess uncertainty about the outcomes?
OSHA does sensitivity analysis using arbitrary assumptions that 0.5% and 5% improvements in health and safety outcomes will result from the revised standard.
3/5
6. How well does the analysis identify and demonstrate the existence of a market failure or other systemic problem the regulation is supposed to solve?
2/5
Does the analysis identify a market failure or other systemic problem?
The analysis asserts there is a market failure but does not explain why there is one. It does explain that the existing hazardous communications standard is confusing to safety personal, inefficient, and duplicative for many manufacturers. In other words, it is identifying a government failure but does not label it such.
2/5
Does the analysis outline a coherent and testable theory that explains why the problem (associated with the outcome above) is systemic rather than anecdotal?
No, in fact its most persuasive evidence of a problem is anecdotal.
2/5
Does the analysis present credible empirical support for the theory?
It does not present much empirical support for the theory that internationally harmonized warnings will improve worker safety but it makes some intuitive sense.
2/5
Does the analysis adequately assess uncertainty about the existence or size of the problem?
There is no real evidence presented that a safety and health problem exists that this regulation will solve and no discussion of uncertainty.
0/5
7. How well does the analysis assess the effectiveness of alternative approaches?
1/5
Does the analysis enumerate other alternatives to address the problem?
There is a limited discussion of alternatives in the regulatory flexibility analysis. There is no in-depth analysis of such options, however, and the agency seems to assume, a priori, that it's regulatory action is the best option.
1/5
Is the range of alternatives considered narrow (e.g., some exemptions to a regulation) or broad (e.g., performance-based regulation vs. command and control, market mechanisms, nonbinding guidance, information disclosure, addressing any government failures that caused the original problem)?
Range of options is generally narrow, mostly involving leaving some firms out of the compliance standard or requiring compliance with only some provisions.
1/5
Does the analysis evaluate how alternative approaches would affect the amount of the outcome achieved?
Only one set of estimates is produced so there is no quantitative estimates on how these alternatives would impact the outcomes.
0/5
Does the analysis adequately address the baseline? That is, what the state of the world is likely to be in the absence of federal intervention not just now but in the future?
The baseline is not clearly addressed in the RIA but is discussed in a supporting analysis conducted by Policy Planning & Evaluation (PP&E).
2/5
8. How well does the analysis assess costs and benefits?
2/5
Does the analysis identify and quantify incremental costs of all alternatives considered?
It presents costs only for the proposal relative to current conditions.
2/5
Does the analysis identify all expenditures likely to arise as a result of the regulation?
It appears to do a good job on the cost side. The RIA does a thorough job considering the expenditures that may arise due to the regulation.
4/5
Does the analysis identify how the regulation would likely affect the prices of goods and services?
It looks at the likely but minimal cost impacts from compliance costs on prices. The analysis is quite detailed.
4/5
Does the analysis examine costs that stem from changes in human behavior as consumers and producers respond to the regulation?
It does not look at the price and wage impacts that are likely to occur if the impact on costs and health and safety are as large as OSHA estimates.
1/5
If costs are uncertain, does the analysis present a range of estimates and/or perform a sensitivity analysis?
The RIA does include a sensitivity analysis to determine how costs and benefits might change under uncertainty.
3/5
Does the analysis identify the alternative that maximizes net benefits?
No evidence provided and no alternatives to the proposal were analyzed but the analysis does show that benefits exceed costs.
1/5
Does the analysis identify the cost-effectiveness of each alternative considered?
It only calculates the cost effectiveness of the proposed alternative relative to the baseline.
1/5
Does the analysis identify all parties who would bear costs and assess the incidence of costs?
In the RIA, there is a reasonably thorough discussion of the costs that would be borne by different types of industries, and the RIA mentions that some of the cost would be borne by consumers. The analysis does not attempt to determine the true incidence.
3/5
Does the analysis identify all parties who would receive benefits and assess the incidence of benefits?
See above. The RIA discusses that benefits would accrue to employees in affected sectors, however there is no further breakdown of exactly how these benefits would be shared. Furthermore, there is little effort to discuss who would be receiving benefits from improved domestic and international trade.
2/5

Use

9. Does the proposed rule or the RIA present evidence that the agency used the analysis?
The RIA exists within the NPRM, however there is no explicit evidence that the RIA was used to affect any type of decision making.
1/5
10. Did the agency maximize net benefits or explain why it chose another alternative?
Only one alternative was examined, but it did not estimate its net benefits, only net cost savings. Health benefits were quantified but not monetized.
1/5
11. Does the proposed rule establish measures and goals that can be used to track the regulation's results in the future?
The analysis does estimate health and safety goals that could be tracked, but no mention of doing so was made.
1/5
12. Did the agency indicate what data it will use to assess the regulation's performance in the future and establish provisions for doing so?
OSHA does not say it will assess the future results of the regulation, but it could be done with the data in the RIA.
1/5
Total 24 / 60
' '