New regs for Monday: Disabled workers, open records, chemicals

New regs for Monday: Disabled workers, open records, chemicals
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Monday’s edition of the Federal Register contains a new rule from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to increase the number of federal workers who have disabilities, a proposal from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to update its open-records regulations, and more time from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to comment on a new rule for certain chemical substances.

Here's what to look for:

Disabled workers: The EEOC is finalizing a rule that will require federal agencies to enact hiring policies that favor individuals with disabilities.

The agency said the final rule clarifies the affirmative action obligation under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

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Under the rule, agencies are required to take specific steps to gradually increase the number of employees who have a disability or targeted disability, which include deafness, blindness, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorder, mental illness, and missing extremity.

The rule also requires agencies to provide personal assistance services to employees who, because of a targeted disability, require such assistance in order to be at work or participate in work-related travel.

These personal services help individuals with disabilities perform the activities of daily living, including assistance with removing and putting on clothes, eating, and using the restroom, the EEOC said in its rulemaking.

The regulation, which will take effect in 60 days, does not apply to the private sector or to state or local governments.

Open records: The CPSC is updating its open-records rule to incorporate new requirements that were created when the Freedom of Information Act was amended earlier this year.

The law now requires agencies to make records that have been requested three or more time available to the public electronically, extends the period of time allowed to appeal a request that’s been denied from 30 to 90 days, and limits when records created more than 25 years ago can be withheld.

In the rule, the CPSC said it’s changing its agency procedures, updating its contact information — as well as current methods of submitting requests for records — revising employee titles, and making various technical changes and corrections.

The public has 75 days to comment on the proposed rule.

Chemicals: The EPA is giving the public another 60 days to comment on a rule that will require anyone intending to manufacture or process three certain chemicals to give the agency a 90-day notice.

The chemicals subjected to these pre-manufacture notices include the chemical used to make a thin film used in electronic device applications, the chemical used as a barrier coating in wood veneers, and the chemical used to make flexible foam.

The EPA said a commenter requested the additional time to submit written comments on the rule first proposed in October.