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Environmental Health and Safety Blog | EHSWire

May 2011 was Busy for OSHA

Posted by Shivi Kakar

May 31, 2011 6:18:05 AM

Paula Kaufmann, CIH

As an occupational and safety professional, I’ve noticed that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been busy over the last few weeks!  The following is a summary of highlights of interest to Emilcott clients.  Did any of these catch your attention?

Highlight #1: Up-to-Date OSHA Standards

Announcement of a final rule to help keep OSHA standards up-to-date and better enable employers to comply with their regulatory obligation. The concept should allow OSHA to easily remove outdated requirements, streamline and simplify standards without reducing employee protection. The rule is to be published soon in the Federal Register:  OSHA Standards Improvement Project-Phase III final rule.

Benefit to employers:  OSHA estimates that the final rule will result in annual cost savings to employers exceeding $43 million. Now that’s an improvement to cheer about!

In the news release, OSHA stated that there will not be any NEW requirements set by this rule, so employers will be able to comply with it immediately. (However, it seems that there will be modifications...Emilcott will be keeping a lookout for those and post an update below or as a new EHSWire post.)  Here are some examples listed in the news release on this rule:

  • Respiratory Protection

    • Aligning air cylinder testing requirements for self-contained breathing apparatuses with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations

    • Clarifying that the provisions of Appendix D, which contains information for employees using respirators when not required under the standard, are mandatory if the employee chooses to use a respirator.

  • Sanitation

    • Defining “potable water” to meet the current Environmental Protection Agency

  • Access to Exposure and Medical Records

    • Deleting a number of requirements for employers to transmit exposure and medical records to NIOSH

  • Slings

    • Requiring that employers use only slings marked with manufacturers' loading information

Highlight #2: OSHA Injury and Illness Logs - Musculoskeletal Disorders (“MSD”)

Reopening the public record on proposed record-keeping rule to add work-related musculoskeletal disorders column.  This keeps popping up!

  • In January of  2010, OSHA proposed to revise its Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements regulation to restore a column to the OSHA 300 log that employers would have to check if an incident they already have recorded under existing rules is an MSD.  

  • On January 25, 2011, OSHA withdrew this proposed revision.

  • On May 17, 2011, OSHA reopens the public record on a proposed rule.

Highlight #3: A Survey of Private Sector Employees

Launch of a targeted employer survey to collect information that would improve the development of future rules, compliance assistance and outreach efforts.

  • The survey will be sent to private sector employers of all sizes and across all industries under OSHA's jurisdiction. Questions include whether respondents already have a safety management system, whether they perform annual inspections, who manages safety at their establishments and what kinds of hazards they encounter at their facilities. Participation in the survey is voluntary.

Highlight #4: Fall Protection for Residential Construction Workers

Online presentation about fall protection specifically designed for residential construction workers. (This is really great as residential construction crews frequently overlook safety – just look at all the roofers walking around the top of your neighborhood homes!)

On a personal note, my son is currently volunteering as a roofer on a Habitat for Humanity home construction site … he informs me that he is wearing fall protection and the roof has anchor points! 

So, can you tell that Emilcott is pretty excited about these changes? Instead of putting the onus on employers to become more aware of OSHA, OSHA is streamlining existing rules to match other government agencies (radical!), listening to employers before leaping into new regulations, and looking at alternative messaging techniques to market segments that frequently fall in the cracks.

If you’re interested in what’s happening at OSHA, just take a look at the loooooong list of May press releases…Are there any highlights that you think important to you or American businesses? Any predictions for June?
Read More

Topics: OSHA, General Industry H&S, OSHA Compliance, General EHS, Construction H&S, Compliance, worker safety, reporting, regulation, construction, fall protection, federal register, log, standards, musculoskeletal disorder

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