Question # 5: Power Plus Battery Company (“PPBC”) has a production plant located in Tampa, Florida. PPBC manufactures batteries for motor vehicles. PPBC has 200 employees and sells its batteries to customers in twenty-five different states in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OHSA”) is a federal administrative agency that has the authority to establish safety standards, pursuant to the authority delegated to it by the United States Congress in the Occupational Safety and Health Act. These safety standards, also known as safety rules or regulations, apply to different industrial operations that have at least fifty (50) employees and are engaged in interstate commerce.
OSHA proposes a new safety standard governing the handling of certain acids in the workplace. The proposed safety standard includes acids that PPBC uses in its production processes. After reviewing the proposed rule, PPBC concludes that compliance with the proposed rule will substantially increase its production costs and the proposed rule will not significantly increase worker safety. PPBC sends a letter to OSHA stating its objections and concerns to the new rule. Enclosed with the letter are independent research reports and other materials that support PPBC’s objections to the proposed rule.
What procedures must OSHA follow when it adopts a new safety standard such as this one? What obligation does OSHA have to consider the objections and the materials submitted by PPBC? What options does OSHA have regarding the proposed rule? How does OSHA announce its final decision on the new rule? Once the new rule has been adopted, what source may interested parties use to find the final version of the new rule?