OSHA Issues Final Rule to Revise Requirements in Safety and Health Standards; Estimated to Save Employer $6.1 Million Per Year

OSHA issued a final rule on May 13, 2019 that revises 14 provisions in the recordkeeping, general industry, maritime, and construction standards. Citing concerns that the previous iteration of the standards were “confusing, outdated, or unnecessary,” OSHA first proposed the changes in October 2016. The revisions were completed as part of OSHA’s Standards Improvement Project, which began in 1995 in response to Presidential Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review.” Prior revisions under the improvement project were issued in 1998, 2005, and 2011. Among…
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Required OSHA and Safety Training in NYC Extended … Again

New York City takes its approach to safety for its construction workers seriously. At least that’s the idea. In 2017, New York City Council members approved Local Law 196. It requires that all workers entering a New York City construction site undergo a combination of training courses administered by OSHA – including OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 — or a 100-hour program approved by the New York City Department of Buildings. Initially, all workers were supposed to complete their training by December 2018. However, in…
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Process Safety Management and Small Businesses

OSHA has issued a Process Safety Management standard pertaining to Highly Hazardous Chemicals (HHCs), which is contained in 29 CFR 1910.119. The standard identifies the requirements associated with management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals and aims to prevent unwanted and/or unplanned release of HHCs in the workplace. Any company, large or small, involved in on-site storage, handling and/or moving of a HHCs (defined by 29 CFR 1910.119) at or above the threshold quantity set by OSHA must comply. Some examples of small businesses with potential PSM…
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Whistleblower Protections for Employees Apply Regardless of Immigration Status

OSHA prohibits retaliation against employees for exercising their workplace rights, regardless of the employees’ immigration status. That issue has come up in a recently filed federal lawsuit initiated by the U.S. Department of Labor when an undocumented construction worker was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shortly after reporting a workplace injury and filing a worker’s compensation claim arising from a 2017 accident. Section 11(c) of the OSH Act prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees for exercising their rights under the OSH Act.…
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OSHA Guidelines Address Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer because it lacks any distinct taste or smell. It is the byproduct of combustion and can prove to be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over 400 Americans die each year from accidental poisoning not caused by fires. As such, and as codified under 29 CFR Part 1917.24, testing for carbon monoxide is required along with establishing limits for the concentration of carbon monoxide. Causes of Carbon Monoxide Appliances and tools…
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Refinery Explosion Highlights Importance of Comprehensive Process Hazard Analysis

An explosion at an oil refinery last April in Superior, Wisconsin has led to the refinery being cited with eight serious violations by OSHA and the filing of at least two lawsuits. The explosion and subsequent fire resulted in 36 injuries, including 11 OSHA recordable injuries, and the evacuation of significant portions of the city, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). The CSB concluded that the explosion resulted from the inadvertent mixing of hydrocarbons with air inside the Fluid Catalytic…
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Passing the Buck: How Employers in New York State can Escape Liability in Occupational Hearing Loss Claims

It’s an all too common tale for many construction companies doing business in New York state. A unionized worker shows up on one of their job sites. Although the worker has been in the trade for decades, it’s the first time that the company has employed them. The worker is only on the job for a short time frame and subsequently retires. The worker, who began developing occupational hearing loss secondary to exposure to industrial noise decades ago, files a claim for workers’ compensation and…
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OSHA Further Delays Deadline Regarding Crane Operator Certification to 2018

On November 9, 2017, OSHA published a Final Rule further extending by one year the employer duty to ensure the competency of crane operators involved in construction work. Previously, this duty was scheduled to terminate on November 10, 2017, but is now extended to November 10, 2018. OSHA is also further extending the deadline for crane operator certification for one year to November 10, 2018. According to the OSHA press release, the extensions are necessary to provide sufficient time for it to complete related…
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OSHA and The Trump Administration: The First 200 Days

Any new presidential administration is likely to bring a new philosophy, vision, and focus to a variety of issues—including workplace safety and health. More than 200 days into the Trump presidency, we take a look below at some of the top developments in OSHA thus far in 2017. OSHA’s Volks Rule Overturned 
The Volks rule—formally the “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness”—was issued on December 19, 2016, during the final days of the…
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Congress Overturns OSHA Recordkeeping Rule

On March 1, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution of disapproval, under the Congressional Review Act, to block OSHA’s “Volks” rule. On March 22, 2017, the Senate followed suit and voted to overturn the rule. Now, the resolution will be forwarded to President Trump to sign, which is expected to occur. The Volks rule—formally the “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness” rule—was issued on December 19, 2016, during the final…
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