Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents
• Record Type: Longshoring and Marine Terminals
• Section: 2
• Title: Section 2 - II. Pertinent Legal Authority

II. Pertinent Legal Authority

The purpose of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 29 U.S.C. 651 et seq. ("the Act") is to "assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources" (29 U.S.C. 651(b)). To achieve this goal, Congress authorized the Secretary of Labor to promulgate and enforce occupational safety and health standards. (See 29 U.S.C. 655(a) (authorizing summary adoption of existing consensus and federal standards within two years of the Act's enactment), 655(b) (authorizing promulgation of standards pursuant to notice and comment), 654(b) (requiring employers to comply with OSHA standards).)

A safety or health standard is a standard "which requires conditions, or the adoption or use of one or more practices, means, methods, operations, or processes, reasonably necessary or appropriate to provide safe or healthful employment or places of employment." 29 U.S.C. 652(8).

A standard is reasonably necessary or appropriate within the meaning of section 652(8) if it substantially reduces or eliminates significant risk, and is economically feasible, technologically feasible, cost effective, consistent with prior Agency action or supported by a reasoned justification for departing from prior Agency actions, supported by substantial evidence, and is better able to effectuate the Act's purposes than any national consensus standard it supersedes. See 58 FR 16612-16616 (March 30, 1993).

The Supreme Court has noted that a reasonable person would consider a fatality risk of 1/1000 to be a significant risk, and would consider a risk of one in one billion to be insignificant. Industrial Union Department v. American Petroleum Institute, 448 U.S. 607, 646 (1980) (the "Benzene decision"). So a risk of 1/1000 (10<