More Beryllium Rule Changes Proposed by OSHA

Technicians examine a James Webb Space Telescope mirror, which is made out of beryllium

On June 23 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced proposed changes to the updated beryllium standard, which has already been delayed twice in recent months. OSHA is now seeking public input on the proposal.

The changes would only impact the construction and shipyard industries, leaving general industry unchanged. Additionally, OSHA announced that it would not enforce the Jan. 9, 2017, final rule while these new changes are being considered.

The permissible exposure limit of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air and short-term exposure limit of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air would stay the same, but rules requiring certain types of personal protective equipment and medical monitoring of employees would be rolled back, according to an OSHA news release.

The proposed changes are set to be published in the Federal Register on June 27, 2017. OSHA is seeking comments from the public and other interested parties during the 60-day comment period that follows the publication. Information about how to comment on the proposal can be found here.

The full list of standards that OSHA is seeking comment on include:

  • Ventilation standard in construction (1926.57)
  • Criteria for personal protective equipment standard in construction (1926.95)
  • Mechanical paint removers standard in shipyards (1915.34)
  • Ventilation and protection in welding, cutting and heating in shipyards (1915.51)
  • Hand and body protection standard in shipyards (1915.157)
  • Confined and enclosed spaces standards in shipyards (Part 1915 Subpart B)
  • Ventilation standard in general industry for exhaust ventilation and housekeeping (1910.94(a)(4), (a)(7))1
  • Respiratory Protection standard in general industry (1910.134)1,2
  • Hazard communication standard in general industry (1910.1200)1,2

According to OSHA, beryllium is a lightweight but strong metal used in many industries, including aerospace, medical, electronics, defense, and telecommunications. Workers that perform abrasive blasting in construction and shipyards may also be exposed to beryllium. But beryllium is highly toxic, and workers who inhale it are at a higher risk of developing chronic beryllium disease or lung cancer. An estimated 100 people die from chronic beryllium disease each year.

Image source: NASA

National Forklift Safety Day

Not only does this week mark the first ever OSHA-sponsored Safe and Sound Week, but today, June 13, 2017, is also National Forklift Safety Day.

Each year, about forklift incidents result in about 61,800 non-serious injuries, 34,900 serious injuries, and 85 fatalities, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). About 42% of those accidents are people being crushed by a vehicle tipping over, and another 25% are people being crushed between vehicle and surface.

On National Forklift Safety Day, many groups including the Industrial Truck Association, are working to get the word out on the importance of proper forklift safety practices, especially the need for effective operator training. The ITA also meets with government officials on National Forklift Safety Day to discuss what lawmakers can do to help improve forklift safety nationwide.

Forklift Safety Tips

While a training course is needed to properly educate a forklift operator, here are some helpful tips to remember the next time you get behind the controls of a forklift according to OSHA:

  • Inspect the forklift for damage before each use, and if damage is found, report it to a supervisor
  • Know the load limit of your vehicle
  • Honk your horn at all cross aisles to help avoid collisions with pedestrians
  • Always look in the direction of travel. If the load blocks your view, travel in reverse
  • To avoid tipover, never turn while on a grade
  • Do not travel with the load elevated

Do you or your employees need forklift safety training? At SCT, we offer a handful of classes covering numerous powered industrial trucks, including forklifts. Contact us today by calling 1-800-204-1729 or by filling out our online form.

Silica enforcement delayed until September

Enforcement of OSHA’s new final rule on crystalline silica has been pushed back until September 23, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced on April 6.

The cause for the enforcement delay is so that additional outreach, educational materials and guidance can be provided to employers. OSHA “determined that additional guidance is necessary due to the unique natures of the requirements in the construction standard,” according to an OSHA press release.

The enforcement date was originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017.

We’ve talked about the new silica standard before, when it was first announced and when OSHA released its guide for the updated silica standard.

Respirable crystalline silica is a hazardous substance that workers, especially those in the construction industry, face exposure to on a regular basis. Exposure to silica, coupled with lack of safety measures, can lead to lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.

OSHA’s new final rule, which reduced the permissible exposure limit and increased safety requirements, is estimated to save more than 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year, according to OSHA.

SCT has training programs in place to help employers update and refresh their silica safety policies. While enforcement may be delayed, the new final rule went into effect on June 23, 2016.

Protect workers today and call the safety experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729.

Watch SCT at the Ohio Safety Congress

Last week, SCT’s Director of Small Business Services Jay Medlock presented to a crowded room at the Ohio Safety Congress in Columbus.

Mr. Medlock led an hour-long session about Performing a Successful Worksite Analysis. His presentation included questions from attendees and a detailed look at the most often cited OSHA citations.

Watch our quick recap video and thanks to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for putting on another successful conference.

The Ohio Safety Congress is an annual event that features more than 200 educational sessions and more than 200 exhibitors in the workplace safety industry.

If you would like to meet with Director of Small Business Services Jay Medlock or any of our other occupational safety and health experts to learn how we can help your business reach your safety goals, contact SCT today at 440-449-6000 or use our online contact form.

Beryllium Rule Delayed Again

After being pushed back a few weeks ago, the effective date for a new beryllium rule may be delayed again following a call for further review.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a “proposed delay” of the Occupational Exposure to Beryllium rule on March 1. The rule’s effective date would be pushed back from March 21, 2017, to May 20, 2017.

The delay will allow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to comply with a presidential directive “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.” OSHA, while reviewing the beryllium rule, decided it needed more time to fully review the regulation, so it has proposed this additional delay.

The delay of the effective date will also not affect the compliance dates of the beryllium rule, according to OSHA. The public can submit comments about the proposed delay at www.regulations.gov or to the OSHA Docket Office (Docket No. OSHA-H005C-2006-0870).

According to OSHA, beryllium is a lightweight but strong metal used in many industries, including aerospace, medical, electronics, defense, and telecommunications. But beryllium is highly toxic, and workers who inhale it are at a higher risk of developing chronic beryllium disease or lung cancer.

The new beryllium rule, which has standards for construction, general industry, and shipyards, will decrease the permissible exposure limit of beryllium to an average of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air over 8 hours. A new short-term exposure limit was established at 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air over a 15-minute sampling period.

Once the new regulations are fully implemented, OSHA estimates  that 94 lives will be saved each year and 46 new cases of chronic beryllium disease will be prevented. The rule will also provide an estimated $560.9 million in annual net benefits. About 62,000 workers are exposed to beryllium on the job.

Watch our blog and social media channels to stay updated on any new developments for the beryllium rule.

Image Source

Resolution Seeks to Undo OSHA Recordkeeping Rule

If passed, a newly introduced resolution in the House of Representatives would undo part of an OSHA record keeping rule that was finalized in December 2016.

The rule states that employers must maintain an “accurate record of each recordable injury and illness” for a five-year retention period. This includes possibly creating an OSHA 300 Log entry for an injury that occurred a few years ago, but that the employer only found out about recently.

“This rule simply returns us to the standard practice of the last 40 years,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels at the time of the rule’s approval. “It is important to keep in mind that accurate records are not just paperwork; they have a valuable and potentially life-saving purpose.”

OSHA also stated that this policy has been upheld by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, but a 2012 circuit court decision reversed the Commission and rejected OSHA’s position.

On Feb. 21 Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), chairman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, introduced a resolution that would nullify the rule. Byrne and opponents of the rule contend that it does not help protect workers and that the original Occupational Safety and Health Act spells out that employers can only be cited for record keeping violations within the last six months, not five years.

If passed by Congress under the Congressional Review Act, the resolution then needs to be signed by the President to become law.

Stick with SCT as we will keep you updated on the progress of this resolution and all other OSHA news. We care about keeping workers safe on the job.

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OSHA Delays Beryllium Rule to Comply with Presidential Directive

In order to comply with a directive from President Donald Trump’s administration, the effective date for a new beryllium rule has been delayed to March 21, 2017.

The 11 day delay stems from the presidential directive called “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,” which is designed to allow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials more time to review the beryllium regulation. The new rule was published on January 9, 2017.

According to OSHA, beryllium is a lightweight but strong metal used in many industries, including aerospace, medical, electronics, defense, and telecommunications. But beryllium is highly toxic, and workers who inhale it are at a higher risk of developing chronic beryllium disease or lung cancer.

The new beryllium rule, which has standards for construction, general industry, and shipyards, will decrease the permissible exposure limit of beryllium to an average of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air over 8 hours. A new short-term exposure limit was established at 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air over a 15-minute sampling period.

Once the new regulations are fully implemented, OSHA estimates  that 94 lives will be saved each year and 46 new cases of chronic beryllium disease will be prevented. The rule will also provide an estimated $560.9 million in annual net benefits. About 62,000 workers are exposed to beryllium on the job.

Image source 

 

NIOSH Releases New Sound Level Meter App for iOS

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has made it much easier for workers to detect, save, and share the noise exposure data of their workplace.

After studying hundreds of smartphone sound measurement apps in 2014, the organization released this week the NIOSH Sound Level Meter for iOS devices.

NIOSH’s research found that only a few of the apps it studied met the criteria needed for an accurate and fully functioning app, and that the apps were geared to the casual user. But the Sound Level Meter, when used with a calibrated external microphone, was within plus/minus 1 decibel of the reference app.

The app has many useful features. It gives a continuously-updated instantaneous decibel level, A-weighted Equivalent Sound Level (LAeq), the Maximum Level measured during the current run time, the C-weighted Peak Sound Pressure Level (LCpeak), the Time-Weighted Average (TWA) and Dose. Users can then record data for a set period of time, save the data and then send the sound level report via email to coworkers or supervisors.

 

 

The app works with the built-in microphone of the iPhone, but a properly calibrated external microphone may give more accurate measurements.

The app is not meant to replace a professional sound meter or be used for OSHA/NIOSH compliance purposes, but can provide valuable insight for workers and employers about the noise levels in their workplace.

Additionally, the app also features data from NIOSH about recommended exposure limits, hearing loss prevention, and hearing protector devices.

Do you or your employees need hearing protection? Check out our new website SCT Supply for all of your safety supply and PPE needs. Click the link and search for hearing protection to ensure that your ears are safe.

We’re also preparing a video in the near future that will walk through the features of the app. Stay tuned!

Anti-Retaliation Program Recommendations Released by OSHA

Having strong workplace safety policies are essential to a strong, growing business, but those policies only work well if employees can speak up about a violation. More than 20 whistleblower protection laws are on the books, and OSHA recently released recommended practices for anti-retaliation programs in the workplace.

The document, which can be seen here, features five keys to a successful anti-retaliation policy:

  • Leadership, commitment, and accountability from management
  • A system for listening to and resolving employees’ safety/compliance concerns
  • A system for receiving and responding to reports of retaliation
  • Anti-retaliation training for employees and managers
  • Program oversight

Protected activities can include filing a report about a possible safety violation, reporting a workplace injury, cooperating with law enforcement, or refusing to complete tasks that would violate the law.

Whistblower protection has been in the news recently, as the U.S. Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against a Georgia-based roofing company. A safety manager for the company was allegedly terminated from his job after cooperating with an OSHA inspection.

The suit seeks back wages, interest, compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.

These recommended practices will provide companies with the tools to create a robust anti-retaliation program,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jordan Barab in a release. “In the long run, it’s good for workers and good for business.”

To learn more about whistleblower protection laws, visit www.whistleblowers.gov.

Our experts at SCT, who have dozens of years of experience working for and with OSHA, can help you design or upgrade your company’s written safety plan to incorporate these recommended practices. Contact us today to learn how we can make your business more safe and productive.

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