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United Steelworkers of America v. Pendergrass

filed: August 19, 1988.

UNITED STEELWORKERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO-CLC, PETITIONER
v.
JOHN A. PENDERGRASS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, RESPONDENT AND THE STATE OF NEW YORK, THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT AND NATIONAL PAINT & COATINGS ASSOCIATION, INTERVENORS; UNITED STEELWORKERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO-CLC, PETITIONER V. JOHN A PENDERGRASS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, RESPONDENT AND THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, CHEMICAL MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE & ATLANTIC RICHFIELD COMPANY, AND NATIONAL PAINT & COATINGS ASSOCIATION, INTERVENORS; PUBLIC CITIZEN, INC., ET AL., PETITIONERS V. JOHN A. PENDERGRASS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, RESPONDENT AND THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, CHEMICAL MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION, NATIONAL PAINT & COATINGS ASSOCIATION, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE & ATLANTIC RICHFIELD COMPANY, INTERVENORS; COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, PETITIONER V. OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH REVIEW COMMISSION, SECRETARY OF LABOR, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, RESPONDENT; PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER V. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND RAYMOND DONOVAN, SECRETARY OF UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, RESPONDENTS; THE STATE OF NEW YORK, PETITIONER V. JOHN A. PENDERGRASS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, RESPONDENT



On Petition For Review For Further Relief With Respect To Prior Decisions Of This Court.

Gibbons, Chief Judge, and Fisher, District Judge*fn* and Kelly, District Judge*fn**

Author: Gibbons

Opinion OF THE COURT

GIBBONS, Chief Judge.

I

Once again United Steelworkers of America and Public Citizen, Inc. et al., (petitioners) come before this court on a motion seeking further relief in the enforcement of our judgment in United Steelworkers of America v. Auchter, 763 F.2d 728 (3d Cir. 1985) (USWA I), issued on July 8, 1985. In USWA I we directed the Secretary of Labor to reconsider the application of the hazard communication standard promulgated pursuant to section 6 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), Pub. L. No. 91-596, 84 Stat. 1590 (codified as amended at 29 U.S.C. §§ 651-678 (1982), to employees in sectors of the economy other than manufacturing. 763 F.2d at 743. The Secretary took the position that this judgment permitted the commencement of an entirely new rulemaking proceeding. The petitioners, contending that the Secretary was not in good faith complying with our judgment, moved for further relief. In United Steelworkers of America v. Pendergrass, 819 F.2d 1263 (3d Cir. 1987) (USWA II) we held that by commencing a new rulemaking proceeding the Secretary was not complying with our previous judgment. We directed that the Secretary should,

within sixty days of the date of our order, publish in the Federal Register a hazard communication standard applicable to all workers covered by the OSH Act, including those which have not been covered by the hazard communication standard as presently written, or a statement of reasons why, on the basis of the present administrative record, a hazard communication standard is not feasible. Such statement of reasons will be supplied separately as to each category of excluded workers.

819 F.2d at 1270. (Footnote omitted). On August 7, 1987 this court denied the Secretary's petition for rehearing and motion for a stay.

On August 24, 1987 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA or the Secretary) published an expanded hazard communication standard applicable to all industries. 52 Fed. Reg. 31852, et seq. (codified at 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1200). This August 24, 1987 promulgation includes an OSHA finding that the rulemaking record on the whole supported a determination that the hazard communication standard is feasible in all industries. 52 Fed. Reg. at 31857. It applies the hazard communication standard to employers in all economic sectors, including the labeling requirements, as well as the requirement that covered employers make available for employee inspection Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) furnished by the manufacturers of hazardous chemicals used in the workplace, and the requirement that employees be provided with information and training on hazardous chemicals used in their work area. The August 24, 1987 promulgation also includes three provisions not contained in the original hazard communication standard applicable in the manufacturing sector alone. These are: (1) a requirement that at multi-employer worksites employers exchange their MSDSs, either individually or through a central location, 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1200(e)(2); (2) an exemption from the labeling requirement for consumer products used in the same manner and quantities as intended for consumer use, 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1200(b)(6)(vii); and (3) an exemption from labeling of drugs in tablet or pill form regulated by the Federal Drug Administration. 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1200(b)(6)(viii). OSHA explained that these modifications were made "to ensure that [the] provisions [of the standard] are practical and effective in communicating hazards to all workers" and in recognition of "the unique characteristics of some businesses [that] render certain provisions of the [previous] standard unnecessary or ineffective in communicating the hazards of chemicals to workers." 52 Fed. Reg. at 31858.

This revised hazard communication standard was to go into effect on May 23, 1988. 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1200(j). On September 10, 1987, however, OSHA submitted it to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), ostensibly in compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, Pub. L. 96-511, 94 Stat. 2812, 44 U.S.C. § 3501 et seq. (Supp. 1988). On Sept. 30, 1987 OMB undertook public notice and comment "on the recordkeeping, notification and other paperwork requirements" of the revised standard. 52 Fed. Reg. 36652. Following a public hearing, OMB purported to disapprove the three new provisions referred to in the preceding paragraph. OMB also conditioned its approval of the entire standard on the undertaking by OSHA of further rulemaking to consider OMB's objections. OMB letter of October 23, 1987. Further negotiations between OSHA and OMB followed, and on April 13, 1988 OMB announced that it would permit the revised standard, but without the "disapproved" portions, to go into effect on May 23, 1988 as scheduled.

Meanwhile, two court proceedings regarding the revised standard were initiated. First, Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. petitioned to review the revised hazard communication standard in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and moved for a stay of its enforcement in the construction industry. Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. v. McLaughlin, (D.C. Cir. No. 87-1582). That court, on motion of the petitioners, transferred the Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. petition to this court, but granted an administrative stay "until such time as the third circuit rules on the emergency motion for stay." Order of May 20, 1988. This panel has by a separate order denied that emergency motion.

Second, on April 6, 1988 the petitioners moved in this court for further relief. The effect of the April 13 OMB change of position, allowing the bulk of the hazard communication standard to go into effect, is that the petitioners' charge of non-compliance is now narrowed to the three provisions which OSHA has in effect withdrawn, in compliance with the OMB disapproval.

Both Associated General Contractors of America, and United Technologies Corporation moved in this court to intervene for the purpose of opposing the ...


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