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At age 22, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is really starting to flex its muscles.
OSHA, which was formed with the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, is expanding its regulatory oversight into several new areas.
Earlier this month, for example, OSHA rules took effect to protect health-care workers from exposure to blood-borne pathogens such as hepatitis B and the human immunodeficiency virus that leads to AIDS.
Next month, OSHA will implement new hazardous-chemical process safety standards mainly affecting workers at chemical plants.
And looming on the horizon are proposed OSHA safety rules affecting employees who work in such confined spaces as underground tanks, those who drive vehicles while on the job, and those who repair equipment or vehicles. Art Thomas, director of OSHA's Columbus Area Office, says new rules in those areas are likely to go into effect sometime next year.
In addition to all this rule-making activity, the U.S. Congress is considering the Comprehensive Occupational Safety and Health Reform Act, a wide-sweeping piece of …