December 7, 2023

Washington Wire: OSHA Forming Small Business Panel for Heat Standard



OSHA Forming Small Business Panel for Heat Standard
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is launching a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel to review how small businesses and other entities would be affected by the pending heat injury and illness standard. As required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), the panel will review potential elements of a heat injury and illness standard and provide feedback and any concerns on how a standard might potentially impact their workplace. 
OSHA is considering proposing a rule imposing workplace requirements when the indoor or outdoor heat index exceeds 80oF. Among actions under potential consideration are additional PPE and engineering controls, prescribed rest breaks, access to cold water, and a designated cool down station for employees. Continuous monitoring throughout the manufacturing plant could also pose challenges to industry, especially if a final OSHA heat rule adopts a one size fits all approach with a single regulation covering all employers from dry cleaners to construction sites and restaurants and manufacturers. 
The agency will specifically seek input on options for seven aspects of the rule: a "programmatic approach" to preventing heat injury and illness prevention; the standard's scope; how to identify and assess heat hazards; measures to prevent and control those hazards; medical treatment and emergency response for heat; worker training; and recordkeeping. 
OSHA expects to host several SBAR panel teleconferences, to hear input from the SERs before creating a reform to inform the rulemaking process. The sessions will be open to the public, and One Voice intends to file comments in the docket after the panel is announced around August 21, 2023.
For more information on the SBAR panel, visit OSHA’s Heat Injury and Illness SBREFA website at:



ITC Launches Steel & Aluminum GHG Investigation
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has formally launched an investigation assessing greenhouse gas emissions from steel and aluminum produced in the U.S. 
As a part of the investigations, the ITC will conduct a survey by issuing questionnaires to companies with facilities producing steel and aluminum in the U.S. to gather information on three different scopes of GHG emissions intensity. "Scope 1" covers direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the producers, such as emissions from fuel combustion and electricity generation. "Scope 2" includes indirect emissions from purchased energy sources like electricity, steam, heat, or cooling. "Scope 3" encompasses other indirect emissions within the value chain of the reporting company, not covered by Scope 2.  ITC intends to post a draft of the questionnaire for comment as well as the final questionnaire before it is issued to the steel and aluminum producers.  
As part of the investigation, ITC will hold a public hearing on the probe on Dec. 7. Public comments will also be accepted through June 28, 2024.  The commission will submit a public report to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative by Jan. 28, 2025, as requested last month by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
Ambassador Tai last month requested the investigation to help inform the implementation of the forthcoming U.S.-European Union "Global Arrangement on Sustainable Steel and Aluminum." Top U.S. and EU officials have said they hope to complete the negotiations by October.




Commerce Announces Large Semiconductor Supply Chain Funding
On Friday, June 23, 2023, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s CHIPS Program Office announced the second funding opportunity as part of the CHIPS Incentives Program. The CHIPS program is now seeking applications for the construction, expansion, or modernization of commercial facilities for semiconductor materials and manufacturing equipment facilities for which the capital investment equals or exceeds $300 million. Another funding announcement is expected later this year to support smaller supply chain projects where the capital investment is below $300 million. 
Eligible entities for the large supply chain project funding include private-sector or non-profit entities as well as consortiums that have a project to construct, expand, or modernize semiconductor facilities, including facilities that manufacture or produce raw and intermediate materials or semiconductor manufacturing equipment facilities, including facilities that produce the subsystems that enable or are incorporated into manufacturing equipment. Awards will be negotiated and tailored to each individual project but will be a combination of direct funding, loans, and loan guarantees. Commerce expects the total amount of each award to not exceed 35% of the total project capital expenditures, and any direct funding to range between 5% to 15%. 
The application portal for submissions of Statements of Interest (SOI) for the current and future funding availability is open.  An SOI must be submitted at least 21 days before pre-application or full application can be submitted. Pre-applications will be accepted beginning on September 1, 2023. While optional, submitting a pre-application will allow the Department to provide feedback before a full application is submitted. Full applications will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning on October 23, 2023.
For additional information and resources on the CHIPS Incentive Program visit



Senators Propose Bill to Change NAAQS Reviews
A group of Republican senators, led by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), have introduced a bill to make the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reviews of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) less frequent while also allowing EPA to consider technological feasibility when revising NAAQS.
Under the Clean Air Act’s NAAQS program, the EPA sets standards for six criteria pollutants, particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and lead (Pb). The National Ambient Air Quality Standards Implementation Act of 2023, introduced on June 22, 2023, by Capito and Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), John Cornyn (R-TX), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), would extend the Clean Air Act's mandatory NAAQS review interval from five years to 10, authorize the EPA to consider technological feasibility consideration when revising NAAQS, and require that EPA issue implementation regulations and guidance at the same time it imposes new or revised NAAQS rules, among other provisions. 
EPA has proposed to tighten its NAAQS for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and it is currently weighing whether to do so for ozone standards.



EEO-1 Filing Delayed
Filing of the 2022 EEO-1 forms, which report demographic data to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), has been delayed from mid-July until the fall of 2023. According to the EEOC, the delay is due to a mandatory, three-year renewal of the EEO-1 Component 1 data collection by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).
The EEO-1 is an annual survey requiring all private employers with 100 or more employees and federal government contractors or first-tier subcontractors with 50 or more employees and a federal contract, sub-contract, or purchase order amounting to $50,000 or more to file the EEO-1 report which summarizes employee headcount by sex, race/ethnicity, and job category.