OSHA outlines General Industry Silica Enforcement

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has outlined how it will conduct silica enforcement for the General Industry and Maritime standards in a memorandum from Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Galen Blanton.

The launch of silica enforcement for General Industry and Maritime standards takes a similar path as the start of enforcement for the Construction standard.

In the memorandum to OSHA’s Regional Administrators, Blanton wrote, “During the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA will assist employers that are making good faith efforts to meet the new standard’s requirements. If upon inspection, it appears an employer is not making any efforts to comply, compliance officers should conduct air monitoring in accordance with Agency procedures, and consider citations for non-compliance with any applicable sections of the new standard.”

The new provisions for Respirable Crystalline Silica standard for General Industry and Maritime, 29 CFR § 1910.1053, are enforceable on June 23, 2018. Like the Construction standard, 29 CFR § 1926.1153, the standard instituted a new 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3, and an action level (AL) of 25 µg/m3.

Watch our “Ask The Experts” video on silica!

According to Blanton’s memorandum, “Any proposed citations related to inspections conducted in this 30-day time period will require National office review prior to issuance.”

Silica enforcement has been one of the top questions SCT’s safety experts have received since the new standards were approved back in 2016. SCT has developed a 2-hour refresher training course, and an 8-hour competent person training course on the new silica standards.

The time for compliance is now!

Contact the safety experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729 or by filling out the contact form below!







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Top 10 Questions about OSHA Inspections

SCT’s workplace safety experts, especially the staff members who used to work for agency, hear the same questions a lot, and usually they revolve around one topic: OSHA Inspections/Citations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the government agency tasked with ensuring workers are protected on the job. When employers experience an OSHA inspection and citation, safety partners and consultants can help the agency and the affected employer(s) negotiate a settlement.

Combined, Mr. Walters and Mr. Bielema have nearly 50 years of OSHA experience and knowledge. EHS Today was at the ASSP conference and wrote about their presentation covering what to expect with an OSHA inspection/citation.

  1. Why did OSHA pick my company for an inspection?
  2. Can I ask for a copy of the OSHA complaint?
  3. Can I ask OSHA to get a warrant?
  4. What documents am I required to provide to the Compliance Officer?
  5. Can I limit the scope of the inspection?
  6. How does OSHA decide whether or not I get a citation and what the penalty amount will be?
  7. Does OSHA have a quota system?
  8. What are my options after I receive a citation?
  9. Should I schedule an informal conference and what should I expect when I go to the OSHA office?
  10. Can we beat an OSHA citation?

The safety experts at SCT have seen it all when it comes to OSHA inspections and citations. Our goal is to keep companies on the right side of OSHA, with compliant, implemented, and regularly updated safety programs and policies that protect workers.

SCT is here to help with any question about OSHA inspections, citations or safety in general. Contact us today at 1-800-204-1729, or fill out the contact form below!








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OSHA Publishes Rule to Officially Delay Beryllium Compliance Date

As part of a settlement agreement between OSHA and four petitioners last month, the administration has announced a proposed rule to push the compliance date for almost all provisions of the general industry beryllium standard.

Published to the Federal Register on June 1, 2018, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) extended to December 12, 2018, the compliance date for “all processes, operations, or areas where workers may be exposed to materials containing beryllium that fall under the scope of the general industry standard,” according to an OSHA news release.

OSHA stated that the delay will allow the agency to complete further clarifications of the standard and to simplify compliance.

Additionally, OSHA issued a memorandum stating that “ancillary requirements that are affected by this rulemaking will not be enforced until June 25, 2018. Any provisions for which the standard already establishes compliance dates in 2019 (change room and showers) and 2020 (engineering controls) are unaffected by this rulemaking.”

Back on April 24, 2018, OSHA and four petitioners – the National Association of Manufacturers, AirBorn Inc., Materion Brush Inc., and Mead Metals Inc. – signed the agreement to move the compliance date to December 12.

The public can submit comments about this action by clicking here. 

SCT safety experts to present at ASSP National Conference

SCT Vice President Nick Walters and Regional Director Tom Bielema are hosting two sessions at the 2018 ASSP National Conference in San Antonio, Texas, next week!

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), which was previously known as the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) until earlier this year, hosts an annual National Safety Conference bringing together the brightest and most innovative minds in occupational safety and health. SCT is thrilled to have Mr. Walters and Mr. Bielema representing SCT at the conference.

SCT Regional Director Tom Bielema

Mr. Bielema is a former OSHA Area Director of the Peoria, Illinois, office, and was part of the team that researched and crafted OSHA’s new Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction, General Industry, and Maritime work environments.

Read more about Tom here.

 

 

 

 

SCT Vice President Nick Walters

Mr. Walters is the former Regional Administrator for OSHA Region V, and spent 25 years with the agency, working his way up from a Compliance Officer to be one of just 10 regional administrators nationwide.

Read more about Nick here.

 

 

 

 

So what will Nick and Tom be talking about in Texas? Here’s their session information.

OSHA Inspections from Opening to Settlement: Tips from Former OSHA Leaders

Monday, June 4, 2018, 3:15pm-4:15pm
Session Number: S563
Location: Hemisfair Ballroom C2

Session Description: Former OSHA leaders will cover how the agency works, its authority and limits, how OSHA inspections are triggered and conducted, citations and the contest/appeal process. In short, this session will provide a soup-to-nuts overview of what you need to know to deal with an OSHA issue when it arises.

Why do SCT’s former OSHA experts think it’s so important?

“OSHA inspections have the potential to impact nearly every employer in the country…The responsibility to report incidents, conduct the necessary investigations, implement corrective measures, and interact with OSHA falls directly on the shoulders of the safety and health professionals and managers at these companies,” Walters said.

“If citations are issued after an OSHA visit, the post inspection process can be confusing. Tom and I have worked through complex settlement negotiations and the litigation process with thousands of companies. This session will provide detailed information about how to navigate that process and provide insight into OSHA’s approach to citation settlement.”

OSHA’s Rapid Response Investigation Process: Tips from Former OSHA Leaders

Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 10:30am-11:45am
Session Number: S609
Location: Room 008A/B

Session Description: Since OSHA’s new injury reporting rule took effect, the number of reports has skyrocketed. OSHA’s Rapid Response Investigation process shifts the obligation to document what happened, why it happened, and what should be done to prevent reoccurrence to the employer. Former OSHA leaders will offer tips for preparing effective reports.

Why do SCT’s former OSHA experts think it’s so important?

“Anyone that serves in a safety and health capacity at a company covered by the OSH Act may be called upon to assist in a rapid response investigation and submit a report to OSHA. Therefore, individuals working at the basic to executive experience levels need to be familiar with OSHA’s Rapid Response Investigation process and the pitfalls to avoid,” Walters said.

Too busy for Texas? That’s OK, SCT is just a phone call away!

If scheduling doesn’t allow you to be in San Antonio next week to talk to Nick and Tom directly, you can always reach them at our Chicago and Peoria offices at 708-382-2900, or via email at NWalters@sct.us.com or TBielema@sct.us.com.

Have another safety question? You can contact all the SCT experts by filling out our contact form below!







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DOL, OSHA Release Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda

The U.S. Department of Labor has released its Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda, which provides a basic roadmap of potential OSHA developments.

The agenda lists 20 potential rules separated into three stages: pre-rule, proposed rule, and final rule. Those in the pre-rule stage are the furthest away from completion and those in the final rule stage are the closest.

Four proposals in the final rule stage include:

  • Standards Improvement Project IV. This would remove or revise “duplicative, unnecessary, and inconsistent safety and health standards” to ease the burden on employers, with most of the revisions to come in construction standards.
  • Quantitative Fit Testing Protocol. OSHA will evaluate three new possible fit-testing protocols to determine if they should be added to the rule as approved testing methods.
  • Rules of Agency Practice and Procedure Concerning OSHA Access to Employee Medical Records. The administration is seeking to revise its internal procedures for OSHA personnel when they obtain and use personally identifiable medical information.
  • Technical Corrections to 36 OSHA Standards and Regulations. OSHA is correcting inaccurate graphics and typos in three dozen standards in 29 CFR 1904, 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918 and 1926.

According to Safety and Health Magazine, four other standards that were previously considered “long term action” also moved onto this edition of the agenda. Emergency Response and Preparedness, Prevention of Workplace Violence in Health Care and Social Assistance, and Tree Care standards are in pre-rule stage. An update to the Hazard Communication Standard is in the proposed rule stage.

With the recent delay of the beryllium standard, that regulation moved from the final rule stage back into the proposed stage. The Crane Operator Qualification in Construction standard also moved backward to the proposed stage.

The complete regulatory agenda, which also contains schedules for dozens of other government agencies, can be viewed by clicking here.

It’s National Safety Stand-Down Week!

From May 7 through 11, 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is recognizing the 5th annual National Safety Stand-Down, an event that encourages employers to take time special time out to recognize fall hazards at the workplace.

Year in and year out, falls from elevation are a leading cause of construction fatalities, accounting for 370 of the 991 construction deaths in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furthermore, lack of fall protection annually tops OSHA’s list of the most cited safety violations.

There are no specific requirements for what needs to be done to participate in the Stand-Down. Employers can offer additional training, a toolbox talk, extra equipment inspections, or safety demonstrations.

If you’re at a loss of what to do for your Stand-Down, how about watching SCT’s Focus on Fall Protection video series? It features four videos that each drill into a different topic relating to fall protection. Check out the YouTube Playlist below.

OSHA also offers a number of free resources at its Safety Stand-Down website including a fall hazards quiz,  downloadable posters, hardhat stickers, infographics, and personalized certificates of participation. Many of the resources are offered in both English and Spanish.

Aside from OSHA, other participating organizations include NIOSH; the Center for Construction Research and Training; the National Occupational Research Agenda; OSHA-approved state plans; the American Society of Safety Engineers; and the American Society of Safety Engineers, among others.

Beryllium OSHA compliance date pushed yet again

The OSHA compliance date for the agency’s general industry beryllium standard has been pushed until December 12, 2018, as a provision of a settlement agreement between OSHA and groups with concerns about certain ancillary provisions in the final rule.

OSHA and the four petitioners — the National Association of Manufacturers, AirBorn Inc., Materion Brush Inc., and Mead Metals Inc. — signed the agreement on April 24, 2018, according to a report from Safety & Health Magazine.

On May 4, 2018, OSHA announced a direct final rule that revised a few parts of the rule. Specifically, it clarified the definitions of Beryllium Work Area, emergency, dermal contact, and beryllium contamination, as well as provisions for disposal and recycling, according to an OSHA news release. 

The new OSHA compliance date of December 12, 2018, is in place for all but two provisions in the rule: change rooms/showers and engineering controls. Those provisions have compliance dates of March 11, 2019, and March 10, 2020, respectively.

OSHA’s beryllium final rule was first published on January 9, 2017, and went into effect May 20, 2017. Enforcement of the standards was most recently slated to begin on March 12, 2018, after being pushed back from March 2018.

According to OSHA’s estimates, about 62,000 workers are exposed to beryllium. The updated regulations included in the final rule is projected to save 90 people from beryllium-related disease, and prevent 46 new cases of chronic beryllium disease each year.

Beryllium is a strong, lightweight metal used in electronics and the defense industry, among others. Overexposure can cause serious health risks, including incurable chronic beryllium disease and lung cancer.

Senators Introduce Legislation to Address Occupational Chemical Risks

Two U.S. senators have introduced legislation that aims to improve the chemical disclosures in pesticides and personal care products.

U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced S.2722, also called the Environmental Justice Right to Know Act.

A major part of the bill seeks to improve conditions for salon workers. The law would require that the Department of Labor and OSHA create safety data sheets for cosmetics often used in hair and nail salons, according to insideoshaonline.com. 

These safety data sheets would be translated into additional languages spoken by many industry workers including Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese and Nepali.

Additionally, NIOSH would need to research ventilation improvements to create better air quality for these workers.

Farm workers would also be impacted, as OSHA and the EPA would be tasked with researching the potential harmful effects of pesticides.

Moreover, OSHA would develop online training materials aimed at salon employees about the specific hazards they face, as well as make the topic a target for the Susan Harwood Training Grant program.

“Workers at nail salons, hair salons, and other industries that handle harmful chemicals and pesticides have the right to be informed about the products they are exposed to in order to ensure the health and safety of their communities,” said Senator Harris in a news release. “Everyone deserves the ability to breathe clean air, drink clean water and know what’s in the products that are around them every day.”

OSHA corrects electronic injury submission error

OSHA has issued a correction for its electronic injury tracking service, and now requires “all affected employers to submit injury an illness data in the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) online portal, even if the employer is covered by a State Plan that has not completed adoption of their own state rule.”

The corrective measure follows a review of the recordkeeping requirements established in 2016’s “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” regulation. As previously reported, at the time of implementation, employers in certain states who met the requirements for ITA submission but were covered under an OSHA-approved State Plan that had not yet adopted electronic reporting were not required to submit data to ITA.

As of now, those state plans — which included California, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming — do not exempt affected employers from submitting their injury and illness data online.

“OSHA immediately notified State Plans and informed them that for Calendar Year 2017 all employers covered by State Plans will be expected to comply,” according to an April 30, 2018, Department of Labor press release. “An employer covered by a State Plan that has not completed adoption of a state rule must provide Form 300A data for Calendar Year 2017.  Employers are required to submit their data by July 1, 2018.”

Employers who are covered by State Plans that have not adopted a state rule to submit electronic injury and illness data will not face any retroactive requirement for Calendar Year 2016, according to the same release. The only required data is that for Calendar Year 2017.

OSHA offers free resources for National Safety Stand Down

Two weeks ago we told you about the National Safety Stand Down happening May 7-11, 2018, and gave you a few links to our fall protection related videos for some Tool Box Talk inspiration. This week we’re bringing you some free OSHA resources that dropped online for employers to use while hosting their own stand down events.

The purpose of the National Safety Stand Down initiative is to reduce the occurrences of falls in the construction industry. Falls from elevation are one of the Fatal Four, which are the top causes of death among construction workers. The Fatal Four include: falls, caught in/between, struck by object, and electrocution.

According to OSHA, eliminating the fatal four would save 631 workers’ lives each year. From the most recent data available (calendar year 2016), the Fatal Four break down looks like this:

  • Falls – 384 out of 991 total deaths in construction (38.7%)
  • Struck by Object – 93 deaths (9.4%)
  • Electrocutions – 82 deaths (8.3%)
  • Caught in/between – 72 deaths (7.3%)

OSHA and other health agencies, like NIOSH, have developed resources for employers to use while hosting their own National Safety Stand Down events at their job sites. Resources featured on the official website include guidance on ladder safety and scaffolding, as well as Tool Box Talk ideas and videos. Many of the resources provided by OSHA are available in both English and Spanish.