OSHA's final Crystalline & Silica Rule has been officially published in the federal register and will be effective on June 23, 2016. Compliance date range from June 23, 2017 for the Construction Industry with most of General Industry meeting compliance in June 2018.Read More
Environmental Health and Safety Blog | EHSWire
There are three OSHA recordkeeping forms that you should we aware of as an employer. These include the OSHA 300 Log, the OSHA Form 301 and the OSHA 300A. The OSHA 300 Log is used to record and track work-related injuries and illnesses as well as any associated lost, restricted or transfer days. The OSHA Form 301 is used to describe details associated with work-related injuries and illnesses and to report Workers’ Compensation claims to insurance carriers. It is not unusual for many insurance companies to have an “equivalent” to the 301 Form that they use internally. OSHA allows for the use of an equivalent form, provided that it contains as least the same required information as the OSHA Form 301. The OSHA 300A or annual summary, only includes a summary of work-related injury and illness information including the number of cases, all associated lost and/or restricted days and selected operational information such as the employers address and NAICS or SIC codes. Key requirements of the OSHA 300A are that it must be reviewed by a senior member of the management team, signed to indicate their approval and posted for a specific period of time. Additional information on each of the three forms is contained below. All forms are available at www.OSHA.com.Read More
Employers are responsible for recording all work-related injuries and illnesses. If you are unable to determine if an injury or illness is recordable after you have completed the investigation, and evaluated all available documents, it is recommended that you contact the OSHA area office nearest you.Read More
Topics: OSHA, OSHA Recordkeeping regulation (29 CFR 1904), severe work-related injury and fatality reporting, OSHA Compliance, OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, reporting, Medical Records, OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reportin
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) recordkeeping requirements have been in place since 1971 (29 Code of Federal Regulations CFR Part 1904). The requirements were updated in 2002 to make it easier for employers to comply. OSHA has again updated the recordkeeping rule for 2015 to include two key changes.Read More
Topics: OSHA, OSHA Recordkeeping regulation (29 CFR 1904), health and safety, OSHA Compliance, Occupational Health, health hazards, occupational health and safety, reporting, Medical Records, OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reportin, OSHA 300A Annual Recordkeeping Summary Form, incident investigation
On August 16, 2012, OSHA issued its criteria of when an employer could be removed from their Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). The SVEP has been in effect since June 2010, replacing OSHAs much-criticized Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP). The SVEP is intended to focus the agencys enforcement resources on those employers believed to demonstrate indifference to their responsibilities to workplace safety by committing any of the following:
- Any violation categorized as Egregious
- One or more Willful, Repeat or Failure-to-Abate violations associated with a fatality or the overnight hospitalization of three or more employees
- Two or more Willful, Repeat or Failure-to-Abate violations in connection with a high emphasis hazard (generally speaking, the subjects of OSHAs special emphasis programs, including falls, amputations, grain handling, etc.)
- Three or more Willful, Repeat or Failure-to-Abate violations related to Process Safety Management (prevention of the release of a highly hazardous chemical)
Considering that OSHAs mission is to not only to protect worker safety, but reduce workplace hazards through both enforcement and outreach, recognition of an employer who turns their safety efforts around and improves working conditions for employees is good policy. Generally, an employer may be considered for removal from the program after:
- A period of 3 years from the date of the final disposition of the SVEP inspection citation items including: failure to contest, settlement agreement, Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission final order or court of appeals decision; and
- All affirmed violations have been abated, all final penalties have been paid, the employer has abided by and completed all settlement provisions and has not received any additional serious citations related to the hazards identified in the SVEP inspection at the initial establishment or at any related establishments.
In the event an employer fails to adhere to the terms and provisions of the agreement, the employer will remain in the program for an additional 3 years and will then be reevaluated. Except in cases where national corporate-wide settlements are involved, approval of the employer's removal will be at the discretion of the regional administrator or designee and will be based on an additional follow-up inspection and IMIS/OIS data.
For more information visit http://s.dol.gov/VD.
This direct final rule becomes effective on November 15, 2012, barring significant adverse comments by September 17 th of this year. Should OSHA receive enough adverse comments, the notice of proposed rulemaking allows it to prolong the notice-and-comment part of the rulemaking initiative, by removing the direct final rule until a later date.
Interested parties may use this link: http://www.regulations.gov to register comments via the Internet. Comments may also be sent by FAX or mail; details can be found at the Federal Register. All comments must be submitted by September 17, 2012.
OSHAs official mandate is that it ensures safe working conditions for employees by regulating and enforcing consistent standards, and providing training, education and assistance. You can learn more about OHSA and see the official notice regarding final rule and notice of proposed rulemaking at their website: http://www.osha.gov.
The Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH) recently recommended to the Department of Labor that it ask the president to use his power of executive order to update OSHA's permissible exposure limits (PELs).
An executive order is a legally-binding directive from the president, requiring no house or senate approval or oversight. However, they are normally made after certain Acts of Congress grant the specific power to the executive branch of the government, and often, presidential executive orders will come under fire for circumventing the usual congressional approval.
FACOSH, which advises OSHA on safety and health matters, recommended that companies and their subcontractors be legally obligated to adhere to the latest, most protective OELs (occupational exposure limits).
According to the FACOSH Emerging Issue Subcommittee, an executive order is needed because PELs have not been updated since 1971 and do not represent over four decades-worth of new technology and toxicological research. They further note that updating the current permissible exposure limits (PELs) needs to be of utmost concern for worker safety for federal workers and contractors working on federal projectsthe only workers defined in these recommendations. The Subcommittee recommended that federal agencies and departments use the most protective and feasible OELs in federal workplaces, notwithstanding the existence of a PEL for a given substance of concern.
The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has recently submitted a white paper stating its support for OSHA's continued role as the gatekeeper for worker safety and its support for an executive order updating PELS and itself has spent a great deal of time and money on research trying to have outdated PELs modernized.
FACOSH has tabled the proposal for now. However, it has received strong consideration from OSHA. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA has been expressing enthusiastic backing for this effort.
Opponents to the idea of using a presidential executive feel it is an end-run around the regulatory process, noting that these more restrictive OELs could be even more rigorous than what is now required by MSHA or OSHA, and that there should be measures in place to make sure the limits are technologically and economically practicable for the companies working on federal projects.
Opponents assert that adopting OELS could open the door to adopting other exposure limits which have not gone through the rulemaking process such as NIOSHs recommended exposure limits (RELs), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists threshold limit values (ACGIH TLVs), the American Industrial Hygiene Associations workplace environmental exposure limits (WEELs).
It is my opinion that (regardless of which side of the fence you might sit on this issue) a couple facts remain:
- Many of the PELs are 40+ years old and much more data and information has been gathered during this time that may influence people conducting health hazard assessments. The irony is that PELs for most industrial hygienists are not used exclusively because they are often out of date with current science. TLVs and other OELs are commonly used today by H&S practitioners in designing controls to reduce exposure to safe levels.
- Some of the current OELs, (e.g. some NIOSH RELs) seem too low, too restrictive, or not reasonable when evaluating the total risk and exposure to some workers. I often use professional judgment in selecting an OEL that is not the most restrictive as a guide to protecting workers who are performing specific tasks, using specific materials, and for varying durations. OELs do not always work as an arbitrary not to exceed limit. Accepting, carte blanche, the most restrictive OEL will reduce some current PELs significantly, but add considerable cost to a company or agency often without gaining appreciable benefits.
- Funds and resources are finite and should be parceled out by H&S professionals to get the best result! Spending money to meet the needs of a blanket mandate, without evaluating the need or benefit, will take resources away from other initiatives that will or may be more effective in protecting workers.
I am personally against an executive order to update all the PELs. I am not convinced that the reduction of PELs in and of itself will significantly reduce exposures to various chemicals and reduce disease. However, I understand the frustration of many H&S practitioners in having PELs that are clearly out of date.
Topics: Emilcott, General Industry H&S, OSHA Compliance, General EHS, permissible exposure limits, OELs, Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety an, PELs, American Industrial Hygiene Association, AIHA, FACOSH
I have seen no less than 20 emails inviting me to webinars that will help me get my house in order for all the changes coming with the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard this year. From the tone of these emails, it would seem like the sky is falling! You know what? The sky is not falling … although there is work to be done to implement the changes.
OSHA has a reasonable timeline for compliance and with planning, we can get through this with ease! Here’s our take on the issue …
On first glance, the changes seem monumental …
- 90,000 workplaces = the number of sites that produce hazardous chemicals in the US. HazCom 2012 requires these manufacturers to.
- Modify the hazard classification for chemicals they produce
- Create new labels to highlight these hazards
- Draft and distribute revised Material Safety Data Sheets (now referred to as Safety Data Sheets)
- 43 million US workers = the number of workers in the 5 million facilities that will be notified of the new physical and health hazard classifications for the chemicals in their workplaces by new labels and Safety Data Sheets communicating these hazards.
- $201 million a year = the cost OSHA estimates to roll out HazCom 2012 for the entire United States. OSHA lists yearly program element costs as follows:
- $22.5 million for chemical hazards classification based on the GHS criteria and revising safety data sheets and labels to meet new format and content requirements
- $24.1 million for printing packaging and labels for hazardous chemicals in color
- $95.4 million for employee training about the new warning symbols and the revised safety data sheet format under GHS
- $59 million a year for management to become familiar with the new GHS system and to engage in other management-related activities as may be necessary for industry's adoption of GHS
Let’s look at the actual tasks each organization has to accomplish for compliance:
With a plan … these tasks are quite doable!
- Chemical Users: Continue to update safety data sheets when new ones become available, provide training on the new label elements and SDS format and update hazard communication programs if new hazards are identified.
- Chemical Producers: Review hazard information for all chemicals produced or imported, classify chemicals according to the new classification criteria, and update labels and safety data sheets.
OSHA’s HazCom 2012 Compliance Timeline …
|December 1, 2013
|June 1, 2015
|June 1, 2016
On April 25, Emilcott will be presenting a HazCom 2012 Webinar for anyone interested. Our approach—let’s not try to alarm everyone, but let’s provide a basic understanding of the changes made to the standard and a simple plan of action for employers to meet the regulatory requirements within the specified time frames. Would you like to join us?
Register here: OSHA HazCom 2012: A Simple Plan for Compliance
Secretary of Labor Solis and Assistant Secretary Dr. Michaels provided a press release conference call this morning where they indicated that the new standard will reduce injuries to employees, reduce costs for employers and allow US manufacturers to be more competitive in a global market.
There were a few questions regarding combustible dust and unclassified hazards, which are now labeled as Hazards NOC (not otherwise classified). Combustible dust will be classified as such and will not be placed in the Hazards NOC category. A number of compliance dates were specified including employee training to be completed by December 1, 2013 and full compliance by June 2016.
OSHA launched its new website on HazCom 2012 today. It provides guidance on compliance and frequently asked questions regarding the new standard.
Now that the final rule is released, look for an Emilcott Free Webinar, HazCom 2012 made Simple
Its leap day!! If you are born on a February 29 th, then you will really only celebrate your birthday once every four years. What if you took a 40-hr HazWOPER course that ended on February 29 th or an 8-hour HazWOPER refresher training on leap day? Does this mean that you only have to celebrate your refresher training once every leap year?
OSHA would say no as the requirement is for ANNUAL training. But what if you havent taken your HazWOPER refresher training since the last leap day? What would OSHA think (or cite!) during a records inspection?
The OSHA enforcement office would most likely not be impressed with the one course every leap day concept. When asked about lapsed 8-hour refresher training, heres what OSHA wrote in a letter of interpretation
OSHA's intent is that employees should complete their refresher training within twelve months of their initial training, although we do understand that courses may be missed due to unavoidable circumstances. The employee who misses a refresher training should attend the next available refresher course.
What about those of us who have not been working on a HazWOPER site and havent taken any refresher classes since the last leap day? What training do we need before we can leap onto a HazWOPER covered site? Heres what OSHA wrote about a three or four year and seven year leap
an individual who has been away for three or four years, the employer may determine that, while repeating all of the training materials in the initial course is not warranted, more than eight hours of training would be required to refresh the employee's knowledge and skills. However, a seven year absence would clearly indicate a need for extensive retraining, with particular attention given to new technology. In such cases the employer may wish to consider repeating the initial training course.
When was the last time that YOU attended an 8-hr HazWOPER refresher training course? Was it within the last 12 months?