March ’22 at-a-glance … regulations

States continue to advance extended producer responsibility laws

In the U.S., the current focus on extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws is primarily directed at plastic and packaging. However, laws already in some states address electronics, batteries, mattresses, paint, solar panels and other products.

EPR bills with varying requirements are currently under consideration in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada, Rhode Island and Vermont. Massachusetts is considering establishing an EPR commission to establish a comprehensive stewardship approach for an array of products. Before finalizing its recommendations, the commission would be required to consult with manufacturers, retailers, recyclers and others.

“Europe leads the way with EPR legislation, followed by Quebec,” according to Peter Wright, NAFEM legal counsel, Barnes & Thornburg. “EPA currently does not have the legislative authority to require EPR, so it may be some time before broader EPR requirements have a direct impact on NAFEM member companies and their products”

OSHA intensifies efforts to address heat injury and illness prevention

The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) shared guidance with its regional administrators of an enforcement initiative to prevent and protect employees from serious heat-related illnesses and deaths while working in hazardously hot indoor and outdoor environments, including bakeries and commercial kitchens. The document provides suggestions for heat-related inspections and citations on days when high-heat indices are expected.

Concurrently, OSHA is reviewing comments to an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that it calls “a significant step” toward a federal heat-specific workplace standard.

House/Senate propose support for manufacturing communities

The Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act of 2022 was simultaneously introduced in the House and Senate and has been referred to respective committees. The bill is intended to support the U.S. manufacturing base, making long-term investments in manufacturing communities by supporting critical skills, facilities, R&D and small-business concerns.