United States: Continued OSHA Initiatives

As 2013 winds down, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor (OSHA) continues to pursue its various initiatives in full force. This e-alert briefly summarizes several of these OSHA efforts.

Frequently Cited Violations of OSHA Standards

OSHA recently listed the ten most frequently cited violations for fiscal year (FY) 2013 (October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013). This list is provided below with the OSHA regulatory standards that pertain to the FY 2013 violations. For comparison purposes, the third column contains the FY 2012 rankings.

The top four violations are the same in FY 2013 and FY 2012. Fall Protection and Scaffolding ranked first and third, respectively, as the most frequently cited standards in FY 2013 and FY 2012. The second most frequently cited standard in both years was chemical Hazard Communication. Respiratory protection was the fourth most frequently cited standard each year. Employers should review facility operations to confirm their operations comply with the applicable most frequently cited OSHA regulations. OSHA will particularly focus on compliance with these regulations.

Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)

We noted in previous e-alerts that the first compliance deadline for OSHA's revised chemical Hazard Communication Standard—Training Requirements—is December 1, 2013. By now, employers should have implemented a program to achieve compliance with the HCS training requirements. The two HCS training requirements are:

  • Safety Data Sheet (SDS). The SDS requirements include providing information on each of the 16 sections under the standardized SDS format.
  • Label Elements. The new label requirements include: name, address and phone number of the chemical manufacturer, distributor or importer; product identifier; signal word; pictogram; hazard statement; precautionary statements; and how the employee might use the labels in the workplace.

The SDS and labeling training requirements must be provided by the employer in a manner and using language that employees can understand. Employers must also provide the appropriate communications to nonliterate employees. The OSHA Fact Sheet regarding training requirements for the revised HCS is attached to this e-alert and found at the following link: www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3642.pdf.

New OSHA Limits for Silica Exposure

Our February 4, 2013 e-alert noted that OSHA was developing a comprehensive standard for crystalline silica. Ten months later, the proposed standard is subject to public comment (see below).

OSHA recently proposed new rules to reduce crystalline silica exposure in the workplace and prevent nearly 700 estimated deaths a year by reducing exposure to these very small particles. Exposure to silica dust can cause lung cancer and other diseases such as silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease. The current exposure limits were adopted by OSHA four decades ago. Business groups lobbied against the proposal, questioning whether it would be feasible to carry out and noting that silicosis deaths were declining. Labor leaders pushed for the new limits.

The public comment period on the new rules originally was scheduled to end on December 11, 2013. However, OSHA reconsidered and extended the public comment period for an additional 47 days, to January 27, 2014. The extra time allows stakeholders to comment on the proposed rule and its supporting analyses.

OSHA also extended the deadline to submit notices of intention to appear at its informal public hearings by an additional 30 days, from November 12, 2013 to December 12, 2013. Public hearings are scheduled to begin on March 18, 2014. The duration of the hearings will be determined by the number of members of the public that appear. The hearings are expected to continue for several weeks and will be followed by a post-hearing public comment period.

Additional information on the proposed rule, including five fact sheets and procedures for submitting written comments and participating in public hearings, is available at http://www.osha.gov/silica/. Members of the public may comment on the proposal by visiting http://www.regulations.gov.

In addition to minimizing workplace silica dust exposure, OSHA is also concerned with preventing on-the-job dust explosions. Thus, OSHA has prepared a "Quick Card" of precautions for firefighters to take to prevent dust explosions. This Quick Card is attached to this e-alert.

New Safety and Health Certificate Program for Public Sector Employees

OSHA has initiated a new certificate program that provides training on occupational safety and health in order to reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities for state and local government workers. The certificate program, called Public Sector Safety and Health Fundamentals, is available in construction and general industry. Students can choose from a variety of courses, including:

  • Occupational safety and health standards for construction or general industry;
  • Safety and health management;
  • Accident investigation;
  • Fall hazard awareness; and
  • Recordkeeping.

To earn a certificate, participants must complete a minimum of seven courses, consisting of three required courses and additional elective courses, totaling at least 68 hours of in-class training. This certificate program is administered by OSHA Training Institute Education Centers, a nonprofit organization authorized by OSHA to deliver occupational safety and health training.

Proposed New Rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

The annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that three million workers were injured on the job in 2012. Consequently, on November 7, 2013, OSHA issued a proposed rule to improve workplace safety and health through improved tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. The proposal does not add a new requirement to keep records; it modifies an employer's obligation to transmit these records to OSHA.

OSHA developed the proposed rule following a series of stakeholder meetings in 2010 to help OSHA gather information about electronic submission of establishment-specific injury and illness data. OSHA proposes to amend its current recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep under the existing standards in Part 1904. For example, establishments with more than 250 employees (and who are already required to keep records) would be required to electronically submit the records on a quarterly basis to OSHA. Establishments with 20 or more employees, in certain industries with high injury and illness rates, would be required to electronically submit their summaries of work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA once a year. Currently, many employers report this information to OSHA under OSHA's Data Initiative. Information on the proposed rule can be found at: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=24002 and https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/proposed_data_form.html. The public will have 90 days, through February 6, 2014, to submit written comments on the proposed rule. A public hearing will be held on January 9, 2014 in Washington D.C.

Whistleblower Complaints Under the Affordable Care Act

In our May 16, 2013 e-alert, we discussed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its provisions concerning whistleblower complaints. Activities and interest associated with the ACA have increased in recent weeks and will likely continue to rise in the future. Thus, we take this opportunity to remind you of this provision in the ACA. We attach to this e-mail an OSHA summary regarding whistleblower complaints. In a future e-alert, we will update you detailed discussions regarding OSHA whistleblower complaints under the ACA.

We will continue to update you as significant OSHA-related regulatory developments occur.

To read this article in full, please click here.

Footnote

1. "C" is the Construction Standard

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions