New regs for Wednesday: Children's online privacy, pesticide protections for farm workers

Wednesday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for children’s online privacy, packaging and labeling requirements, oil spills, and pesticide protections for farm workers.

Here's what is happening.

Children's online privacy: The Federal Trade Commission is considering new rules to protect the privacy of children when they visit certain websites.

As part of the FTC's Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule established in 1999, the agency allows websites geared toward children to develop their own privacy policies that go above and beyond that of the commission's standards. 

The Internet Keep Safe Coalition, known as iKeepSafe, is using this "safe harbor provision" within the rule to submit its own self-regulatory guidelines that it is seeking approval from the FTC.

Packaging and labeling review: The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing a packaging and labeling rule that hasn't been updated in two decades.

The FTC announced Tuesday it is looking into rules it created under the Fair packaging and Labeling Act to determine whether they need to be updated or withdrawn. The Commission last reviewed these rules in 1993.

The rules were designed to prevent unfair and deceptive packaging and labeling for what the FTC deems consumer commodities. The standards require that these products covered under the rule explain what the product is and the name and address of the company that made it, among other things.

Oil spills: The Department of the Interior is delaying a rule that would raise the fines for companies that are responsible for oil spills, such as the BP oil spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the proposed rule last month, but said it was caught off guard by all the comments it has received since then and is, therefore, extending the comment period by another month to provide the public with more time to review the rule.

The new deadline to submit comments is April 25.

Workplace fines: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is raising the fines for companies that fail to post certain notices in prominent areas of the office for workers to see.

Companies that do not post notices about the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act will now be fined $210, nearly double the $110 fine that has been in effect since 1997.

The agency is increasing the fines in order to keep up with inflation. The rule goes into effect in one month. 

"Each federal agency is required to issue regulations adjusting for inflation the maximum civil penalty that may be imposed pursuant to each agency's statues," the EEOC wrote. "The purpose of the adjustment is to maintain the remedial impact of civil monetary penalties and promote compliance with the law."

Tow trucks drivers: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is revising a rule to clarify whether the drivers of tow trucks are subject to commercial driver's license or general safety requirements. The rule would apply to the drivers of tow trailers that haul other trucks.

The rule goes into effect in one month.

Pesticide protections: The Environmental Protection Agency is considering strengthening the pesticide protections for farm workers. The new standards would build on existing rules, in an effort to mitigate occupational pesticide exposure to protect people who handle agricultural protects that contain pesticides.

"EPA is proposing to strengthen the protections provided to agricultural workers and handlers under the worker protection standard by improving elements of existing regulation, such as training, notification, communication materials, use of personal protective equipment and decontamination supplies," the agency wrote.