New regs for Monday: Commercial diving, cell towers, railroad records

In Monday’s edition of the Federal Register, the Coast Guard gives the public more time to comment on new safety standards for commercial divers, there's a request for the public to comment on the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to review what impact new wireless infrastructure will have on historic properties, and new rules from the Federal Railroad Administration for recording employee hours.

Here’s what to look for:

Commercial diving: The Coast Guard is delaying new safety standards for commercial divers who work from deepwater ports, deepwater port safety zones and Coast Guard vessels, to give the public more time to submit comments.

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The rules, first proposed in February, update the current regulations to reflect industry best practices and allow the Coast Guard to approve independent third-party organizations to assist in ensuring compliance. 

The Coast Guars has re-opened the public comment period for 60 days.

Cell towers: The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is asking for the public to comment on how best to review what effect new infrastructure for small wireless communication facilities will have on historic properties.

The FCC said wireless service providers are deploying new infrastructure, particularly distributed antenna systems, to increase their coverage areas. Because these small cell towers use radio spectrum licensed by the FCC and can impact utility poles, buildings and other existing structures, the agency is required under the National Historic Preservation Act to review all project plans.

The agency said such historic preservation reviews serve important local and national interests. Public comments are due by Sept. 28.

Railroad records: The Federal Railroad Administration is considering a rule that would allow certain railroads to use automated signatures to certify employee records of hours worked.

Current regulations force employees whose hours are recorded to sign the record by hand. Under the proposed rule, railroads with less than 40,0000 employee hours per year, and contractors and subcontractors who supply employees to such railroads, would use an automated system, in which employees apply their electronic signatures to the automated records, which are then stored in a railroad computer system.

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rule.