Update: 7/1 (4:00 pm): The link is fixed!  It was two reps of the National Association of Home Builders, four staff of OMB and one from the Dept of Labor’s Solicitor’s Office.  Hmmm…no one from OSHA attended the meeting. 

On June 18 we reported here that OSHA had submitted to OMB’s Office of Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) its proposed rule on crane safety.  Today, I noticed on OIRA’s site that on June 26, someone met with OMB staff about OSHA’s crane safety proposal, but the link is broken — you get this message.  It’s a mystery for now the names and affiliations of the participants.  A person at OMB, who confirmed that a meeting on June 26 took place, told me that he would get the link fixed. 

OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) provides several ways for us to get a tiny sneak-peak at their involvement in agency rulemaking.  One is a list of meetings held with non-government officials on particular rules (by agency, link here), and we’ve used this information to alert readers of The Pump Handle to meetings between OMB and critics of OSHA’s rule on employer pay for personal protective equipment (here) and MSHA’s rule diesel particulate matter. 

When I first started working at OSHA in the early 1990’s, there was frequent criticism among worker and public health advocates about secret meetings involving regulated industries and OMB officials.  Certain Members of Congress (e.g., Senators Metzenbaum and Glenn, and Reps. Ford, Dingell and Waxman) were incensed by these meetings, and tried to expose the backroom dealings as violations of the Administrative Procedure Act and just plain anti-democratic. 

When John Graham was appointed by President G.W. Bush in 2001 to head OIRA there was plenty of criticism and concern (here, here, here) about how his regulatory philosophy would affect public health policies, but in the end, he deserves credit for making the regulatory review process more transparent.  This includes OIRA’s on-line updates on the status of regulatory reviews under Executive Order 12866 (here), the disclosure of return letters (here) and meetings with non-government officials about ongoing rulemakings (here) such as the OSHA proposal on cranes. 

I relish this transparency.  I hope the broken link on OIRA’s site is fixed quickly so we can learn who met with OMB last week on OSHA’s crane safety proposal. 

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