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OSHA extends comment period for safety and health guidelines

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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has extended the public comment period for its proposed update to the agency's Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines by a week and will hold an all-day roundtable discussion on the proposed guidelines in March.

The comment period was announced on Nov. 16 and was to close on Feb. 15, but OSHA extended the comment period until Feb. 22 to give interested parties more time to provide feedback on the draft proposal, according to a statement issued Monday.

The agency has also scheduled a public roundtable discussion on the proposed guidelines for March 10 at the Department of Labor's headquarters, Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20210.

The voluntary guidelines were first published in 1989 to help employers establish health and safety management plans at their workplaces, but the agency in November proposed updating them to reflect modern technology and practices. The guidelines are advisory only and do not create any new legal obligations or alter existing obligations created by OSHA standards or regulations, according to the agency.

Stakeholders at a December public meeting called OSHA's plan to modernize the guidelines a step in the right direction, but said they still needed to address realities in today's workplaces, including a higher prevalence of multiemployer worksites.