OSHA Issues Direct Final Rule
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a direct final rule and notice of proposed rulemaking that applies the requirements of the August 2010 cranes and derricks in construction standard to demolition work and underground construction. The application of this rule will protect workers from hazards associated with hoisting equipment used during construction activities.
The direct final rule will apply the same crane rules to underground construction and demolition that are already being used by other construction sectors, and will correct several errors introduced in the
2010 rulemaking to make it easier for workers and employers to understand and implement these standards.
The direct final rule will become effective November 15, 2012, unless OSHA receives a significant adverse comment by September 17. If the agency receives significant adverse comments, the accompanying notice of proposed rulemaking will allow the agency to continue the notice-and-comment component of the rulemaking by withdrawing the direct final rule.
Individuals may submit comments electronically at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Submissions may also be sent via facsimile or mail. See the Federal Register notice for details. Comments must be submitted by Sept. 17.
Safety Net, Issue 194, August 28, 2012
Lower Emission Rule Struck Down
In a two -to -one ruling, the US Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down an EPA clean air rule that would have required Nebraska power plants to lower emissions. Read KOLNKGIN TV coverage.
Safety Net, Issue 194, August 28, 2012
Preserving America’s Family Farms Act Passes House
The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4157, the Preserving America’s Family Farms Act. The bill prevents the Department of Labor (DOL) from reissuing a proposed rule that would limit farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to hire youth to work in agriculture. The rule would have revised the Fair Labor Standards Act to prohibit minors younger than 16 from performing hazardous job duties such as operating certain equipment or transporting farm-product raw materials. The Preserving America’s Family Farms Act now moves to the U.S. Senate for
Safety Net, Issue 193, August 14, 2012
OSHA Construction Standards Corrections
OSHA is correcting a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with regard to the construction industry head protection standards to eliminate confusion resulting from a drafting error. OSHA published the NPRM on June 22, 2012 (77 FR 37617). OSHA also is publishing a correction to the direct final rule that it published the same day in the Federal Register (77 FR 37587). Read the OSHA Correction Document. Source: OSHA
The Safety Net, Issue 192, July 31, 2012
Congress Mandates EOBRs, Other Safety Initiatives
The U.S. Congress has passed a massive new transportation funding bill that contains numerous provisions affecting motor carrier safety, including a controversial mandate that all interstate truck and bus drivers that are required to maintain a record of duty status (driver log) use electronic logging devices to track their hours.
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) was approved on June 29, 2012, and signed into law on July 6, 2012. It reauthorizes the government to spend nearly $55 billion per year on highway and transit programs through September 30, 2014, replacing the previous funding bill known as SAFETEA-LU.
Included in the bill is a requirement that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issue a rule mandating that all motor carriers engaged in interstate commerce that maintain driver logs must use electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) to monitor compliance with hours-of-service regulations. The agency has one year to write the rule, and then drivers would have another two years before they would have to start using the devices. PDF Summary of MAP-21 Bill Source: JJ Keller Transportation Safety Clicks
The Safety Net, Issue 192, July 31, 2012
Direct Final Rule and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
OSHA has issued a direct final rule and a notice of proposed rulemaking to revise the personal protective equipment (PPE) sections of its general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, and marine terminals standards regarding requirements for head protection.
OSHA's rulemaking actions will update references in its standards to recognize the 2009 edition of the American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection, and is deleting the 1986 edition of that national consensus standard because it is out of date. OSHA also is including the construction industry in this rulemaking to ensure consistency among the Agency's standards.
The direct final rule will become effective on September 20, 2012 unless OSHA receives a significant adverse comment by July 23, 2012. If the agency receives significant adverse comments, the accompanying notice of proposed rulemaking will allow the agency to continue the notice-and-comment component of the rulemaking by withdrawing the direct final rule. Individuals may submit comments electronically at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Submissions may also be sent via facsimile or mail. See the Federal Register notice for details. Submissions must be submitted by July 23, 2012. The Safety Net, Issue 191, July 17, 2012
Court Upholds EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regulations
On February 28th and 29th, a federal appeals court in Washington, DC heard oral arguments in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, a group of lawsuits challenging U.S. EPA's authority to regulate climate change pollutants. The suits had been brought by groups seeking to overturn EPA's greenhouse gas (GHG) endangerment finding, clean car standards crafted under the Clean Air Act, and efforts to reduce industrial emissions.
On June 26th, the DC Circuit released their opinion. The court is upholding the EPA rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions from major stationary sources and its determination that GHG emissions endanger public health and welfare by contributing to climate change. The Safety Net, Issue 190, July 5, 2012
OSHA Standard Interpretation:
Determining Work-Relatedness For Injury That Occurred in Company Parking Lot Standard 1904.5(b)(2)
Question: An employee was returning to work from his lunch break with two co-workers. After parking in the parking lot which was open to employees and customers, the employee placed his foot on the running board of his co-worker's truck, caught his heel and fell, breaking his ankle. Does this incident meet the criteria of occurring in the workplace and thus is a recordable event?
What do you think? Click here for OSHA's response.
The Safety Net, Issue 189, June 19, 2012
EPA Proposes Clean Air Standards for Harmful Soot Pollution
In response to a court order, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed updates to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution, including soot (known as PM2.5).
A federal court ruling required EPA to update the standard based on best available science. The proposal, which meets that requirement, builds on smart steps already taken by the EPA to slash dangerous pollution in communities across the country. Thanks to these steps, 99 percent of U.S. counties are projected to meet the proposed standard without any additional action.
Read the entire news release.
More information. http://www.epa.gov/pm
The Safety Net, Issue 189, June 19, 2012
Reiteration of OSHA's Policy On Unguarded Sweep Augers
OSHA published a letter of interpretation in response to a letter from Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) dated November 7, 2011, expressing concerns about OSHA's actions on grain augers. Rep. Noem stated that a letter of interpretation dated 2009 stated that employees could not work in a grain bin while an unguarded auger was operating, but did not offer alternatives for removal and did not define the term "unguarded sweep auger."
In his response, David Michels, PhD, MPH. outlined OSHA's actions on the issue. The Safety Net, Issue 188, June 5, 2012
USDOT Proposes Groundbreaking Rule to Prevent Rollover Crashes for Nation’s Large Trucks, Buses
New Federal Safety Standard Could Prevent More than Half of Rollovers, Help Maintain Steering Control for Large Commercial Vehicles
On May 17th, he U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a new federal motor vehicle safety standard to require electronic stability control (ESC) systems on large commercial trucks, motorcoaches, and other large buses for the first time ever. Agency research shows the technology could prevent up to 56 percent of rollover crashes each year—the deadliest among all crash types—and another 14 percent of loss-of-control crashes. Read the press release. The Safety Net, Issue 188, June 5, 2012
New Application Materials Bring Transparency To The Variance Approval Process
To make the process of applying for a variance more transparent and straightforward, OSHA has posted new application forms and checklists to its Variances page.
A variance is a regulatory action that permits an employer to deviate from the requirements of an OSHA standard under specified conditions. OSHA may grant a variance to employers who can prove their alternative method, condition, practice, operation, or process provides workers as safe or healthful a workplace as the applicable OSHA standard requires.
For more information and to access the new materials, visit OSHA's page on how to apply for a variance. Article Source: OSHA QuickTakes The Safety Net, Issue 187, May 22, 2012
EPA Publishes National U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the 17th annual U.S. greenhouse gas inventory. The final report shows overall emissions in 2010 increased by 3.2 percent from the previous year. The trend is attributed to an increase in energy consumption across all economic sectors, due to increasing energy demand associated with an expanding economy, and increased demand for electricity for air conditioning due to warmer summer weather during 2010.
Total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases in 2010 were equivalent to 6,822 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. The report indicates that overall emissions have grown by over 10 percent from 1990 to 2010. Read more on the greenhouse gas inventory report. The Safety Net, Issue 186, May 8, 2012
Proposed Rule Dealing With Children Working In Agricultural Settings Withdrawn
On April 26, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) withdrew a proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations. In a statement released by the DOL, "The decision to withdraw this rule - including provisions to define the 'parental exemption' - was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms. To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.
"Instead, the Departments of Labor and Agriculture will work with rural stakeholders - such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Future Farmers of America, and 4-H - to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices." The Safety Net, Issue 186, May 8, 2012
Final Rule On Reincarnated Carriers Announced
On April 26, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a final rule to prevent motor carriers from operating under a new name, or "reincarnating," after they are shut down due to violated safety standards.
The final rule updates the agency's rules of practice for motor carriers. The final rule is scheduled to go into effect May 29. Read the final rule. The Safety Net, Issue 186, May 8, 2012
National Emphasis Program For Nursing and residential Care Facilities
OSHA has announced a new National Emphasis Program for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities to protect workers from serious safety and health hazards that are common in medical industries.
In 2010, according to the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing and residential care facilities experienced one of the highest rates of lost workdays due to injuries and illnesses of all major American industries. The incidence rate for cases involving days away from work in the nursing and residential care sector was 2.3 times higher than that of all private industry as a whole, despite the availability of feasible controls to address hazards.
The data further indicate that an overwhelming proportion of the injuries within this sector were attributed to overexertion as well as to slips, trips and falls. Taken together, these two categories accounted for 62.5 percent of cases involving days away from work within this industry in 2010. For this NEP, OSHA will target facilities with a days-away-from-work rate of 10 or higher per 100 full-time workers.
VIEW the NEP directive. Information for employers and employees in nursing homes and residential care facilities, including guidance on ergonomics and workplace violence, is available on OSHA's Web site. The Safety Net, Issue 185 - April 10, 2012
OSHA Revises Hazard Communication Standard
The Hazard Communication Standard is being revised to align with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. OSHA's standard will classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and establish consistent labels and safety data sheets for all chemicals made in the United States and imported from abroad. Read more. The Safety Net, Issue 184 - March 28, 2012
Rules Proposed to Limit New Uses of Potentially Harmful Chemicals
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed that companies be required to report to EPA all new uses, including in domestic or imported products, of five groups of potentially harmful chemicals. Over the years, these chemicals have been used in a range of consumer products and industrial applications, including paints, printing inks, pigments and dyes in textiles, flame retardants in flexible foams, and plasticizers. This action is part of EPA's work to ensure chemical safety in order to protect Americans' health and the environment.
The five chemicals EPA is targeting are polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), benzidine dyes, a short chain chlorinated paraffin, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), and phthalate di-npentyl phthalate (DnPP). The agency is also proposing additional testing on the health and environmental effects of PBDEs. Read the news release.
The Safety Net, Issue 184 - March 28, 2012
OSHA Memo - Employer Safety Incentive and Disincentive Policies and Practices
On March 12, OSHA issued a memorandum to its Regional Administrators and Whistleblower Program Managers. The memorandum is intended to provide guidance to both field compliance officers and whistleblower investigative staff on several employer practices that can discourage employee reports of injuries and violate section 11(c), or other whistleblower statutes. One practice mentioned in the memo is incentive programs. Read more. The Safety Net, Issue 184 - March 28, 2012
A Reminder for Employers To Post Injury/Illness Summaries
Employers who are required to keep the OSHA Form 300 Injury and Illness log must post OSHA's Form 300A from Feb. 1 to April 30, 2012, in a common area wherever notices to workers are usually posted. The summary must list the total numbers of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2011. All establishment summaries must be certified by a company executive. Copies of the OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301 are available for download on the OSHA Recordkeeping Web page. See OSHA's Recordkeeping Handbook for more information on posting requirements for OSHA's Form 300A. (The Safety Net, Issue 183, March 13, 2012)
OSHA's Enforcement Emphasis Program Now Available
Descriptions of OSHA's active National and Special Emphasis Programs and Local and Regional Emphasis Programs are now available on OSHA's Web site. These emphasis programs are enforcement strategies designed and implemented at the national, regional, and area office levels. Emphasis programs, accompanied by considerable outreach, address hazards that pose a particular risk to workers in specific industries and jurisdictions. For more information, visit OSHA's Enforcement page. (The Safety Net, Issue 183, March 13, 2012)
OSHA Extends Temporary Enforcement Measures In Residential Construction
OSHA will extend for six months its temporary enforcement measures in residential construction. The temporary enforcement measures, extended through September 15, 2012, include priority free on-site compliance assistance, penalty reductions, extended abatement dates, measures to assure consistency and increased outreach. Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of workplace death in construction.
Over the past year, OSHA has worked closely with the industry, conducting over 1,000 outreach sessions nationwide to assist employers in complying with the new directive.
OSHA's Web page has a wide variety of educational and training materials to assist employers with compliance, including multiple easy-to-read fact sheets, PowerPoint and slide presentations, as well as other educational materials. To access these materials, visit OSHA's Fall Protection in Residential Construction page. Source: OSHA (The Safety Net, Issue 182, February 28, 2012)
Revised Acetylene Standard To Take Effect March 5
OSHA's direct final rule revising the Acetylene Standard for general industry goes into effect March 5. The revised standard replaces a reference to an outdated consensus standard with an updated reference from the Compressed Gas Association Pamphlet G-1-2009, Acetylene. The update will provide employers with guidance that reflects current industry practices to better protect their workers from injury or death. Source: OSHA (The Safety Net, Issue 182, February 28, 2012)
Local and Regional Emphasis Programs Updated
OSHA has updated its list of local and regional emphasis programs, which are enforcement strategies designed and implemented at the area and/or regional office levels. Although the programs are largely the same as in 2011, there are some changes. OSHA's local and regional emphasis programs are intended to address hazards or industries that pose a particular risk to workers in the Office's jurisdiction. Click here for a complete list of the current local and regional emphasis programs. Source: J.J. Keller (The Safety Net, Issue 182, February 28, 2012)
Carrier Enforcement Expands Town Meeting Schedule
The Nebraska State Patrol Carrier Enforcement Division has scheduled two additional town meetings. The additional meetings will be held in Grand Island and Norfolk. Locations and times of all town meetings are listed below.
During the town meetings information will be provided on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA 2010) program. Implemented in Dec. 2010, the program increases the monitoring of motor carrier on-the-road performance, and institutes new penalties for unsafe driving behaviors.
An update on Nebraska's Truck Safety Regulations and changes in the Hazardous Materials Regulations will also be provided.
For locations and times of all town meetings, access the NPS Web site. (The Safety Net, Issue 181, February 14, 2012)
EPA Finalizes Air Toxic Emissions Standards for Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Production Facilities
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued strong final standards requiring facilities that produce polyvinyl chloride and copolymers (PVC) to reduce harmful air emissions, which will improve air quality and protect people's health in communities where facilities are located.
The final standards are based on currently available technologies and will reduce emissions of air toxics, such as dioxin and vinyl chloride. Facilities will have the flexibility to choose the most practical and cost-effective control technology or technique to reduce the emissions. Facilities will be required to monitor emissions at certain points in the PVC production process to ensure that the standards are met. Read more. (The Safety Net, Issue 181, February 14, 2012)
FMCSA To Revise Violation List for CSA Methodology
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enhanced the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology so that it includes violations based on new cell phone use regulations and provides more detailed breakouts of some existing brake, wheel, and coupling regulations. In February, when the January snapshot is released, motor carriers may notice the changes.
FMCSA is revising Appendix A of the SMS Methodology document to take these changes into account. The agency will repost the document to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) website at the same time the January SMS snapshot is released. Read more.
Source: J.J. Keller (The Safety Net, Issue 181, February 14, 2012)
EPA's FY 2013 Budget Proposal Focuses on Core Environmental and Human Health Protections
On February 13th, the Obama Administration proposed a FY 2013 budget of $8.344 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This budget reflects a government-wide effort to reduce spending and find cost-savings, and is $105 million below the EPA's enacted level for FY 2012. The FY 2013 budget is the result of EPA's ongoing efforts to carefully consider potential cost savings and reductions while continuing its commitment to core environmental and health protections -- safeguarding Americans from pollution in the air they breathe, the water they drink and the land where they build their communities. Read the news release. (The Safety Net, Issue 181, February 14, 2012)
New Medical Certification Requirements For CDL Holders
Starting January 30, 2012 and no later than January 30, 2014, all CDL holders must provide information to their State driver licensing agencies (SDLA) regarding the type of commercial motor vehicle operation they drive in or expect to drive in with their CDL.
Drivers operating in certain types of commerce will be required to submit a current medical examiner's certificate to their SDLA to obtain a "certified" medical status as part of their driving record. CDL holders required to have a "certified" medical status who fail to provide and keep up-to-date their medical examiner's certificate with their SDLA will become "not-certified" and they may lose their CDL.
For specific State by State requirements for drivers and information related to how a State is handling the Medical Certification requirements, and to determine who to contact for additional information, click here. Source: FMCSA
(The Safety Net, Issue 181, February 14, 2012)
Post OSHA 300A Summary Feb 1 - April 30
If you employ more than ten people, you must post a summary (OSHA Form 300A) of your 2011 OSHA recordkeeping log, from February 1 - April 30, 2012.
For more information, visit OSHA's injury and illness recordkeeping Web site (http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/index.html). (The Safety Net, Issue 180, January 31, 2012)
EPA Releases 2010 Toxics Release Inventory National Analysis
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing its annual national analysis of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), providing all Americans with vital information about their communities. The TRI program publishes information on toxic chemical disposals and other releases into the air, land and water, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities in neighborhoods across the country. Total releases including disposals for the latest reporting year, 2010, are higher than the previous two years but lower than 2007 and prior year totals. Many of the releases from TRI facilities are regulated under various EPA programs and requirements designed to limit human and environmental harm. More information on the 2010 TRI analysis and TRI Web-based Tools can be found on EPA's Web site. (The Safety Net, Issue 179, January 17, 2012)