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 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
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). 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 & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

    Disclaimer

    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd 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 or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

    Registration

    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

    Cookies

    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

    Links

    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

    Mail-A-Friend

    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

    Emails

    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

    Security

    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

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