Preventing Backover Injuries and Fatalities - Federal Register Vol. 77 No. 242

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 242 (Monday, December 17, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 74695-74696]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-30315]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[Docket No. OSHA-2010-0059]
RIN 1218-AC51

Preventing Backover Injuries and Fatalities

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Notice of stakeholder meetings.

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SUMMARY: OSHA invites interested parties to participate in informal 
stakeholder meetings on preventing backover injuries and fatalities. 
OSHA plans to use information gathered at these meetings to evaluate 
backover risks across various industries, whether or how backovers may 
be prevented by new technology or other methods, and how effective 
those measures are.

DATES: Dates and locations for the stakeholder meetings are:
    1. January 8, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. and January 9, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. in 
Washington, DC. 
    2. February 5, 2013 at 9:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. in 
Arlington, TX.

ADDRESSES: The meeting locations are:
    1. Frances Perkins Building, Department of Labor, Room C-5515 1A & 
1B for January 8 and Room C-5521 for January 9, 200 Constitution Avenue 
NW., Washington, DC.
    2. University of Texas at Arlington, OSHA Education Center, 
Bluebonnet Ballroom in the University Center, 300 W. First St., 
Arlington, Texas.

I. Registration

    Submit your notice of intent to participate in one of the scheduled 
meetings by one of the following:
     Electronic. Register at
https://www2.ergweb.com/projects/conferences/osha/register-osha-backover.htm 
Web site (follow the 
instructions online).
     Facsimile. Fax your request to: (781) 674-2906, and label 
it ``Attention: OSHA Backover Stakeholder Meeting Registration.''
     Regular mail, express delivery, hand (courier) delivery, 
and messenger service. Send your request to: Eastern Research Group, 
Inc., 110 Hartwell Avenue, Lexington, MA 02421; Attention: OSHA 
Backover Stakeholder Meeting Registration.
     Phone. Telephone registration number is (781) 674-7374.

II. Meetings

    Specific information on the schedule and location of each meeting 
can be found on the Backover Web site of OSHA's contractor Eastern 
Research Group at
https://www2.ergweb.com/projects/conferences/osha/register-osha-backover.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Information regarding this notice is 
available from the following sources:
     Press inquiries. Contact Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA 
Office of Communications, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-
1999.
     General and technical information. Contact Meghan Smith, 
OSHA Directorate of Construction, Room N-3467, U.S. Department of 
Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, telephone: 
(202) 693-2020.
     Copies of this Federal Register notice. Electronic copies 
are available at http://www.regulations.gov. This Federal Register 
notice, as well as news releases and other relevant information, also 
are available on the OSHA web page at http://www.osha.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    BLS reported that 79 workers were killed in 2011 when backing 
vehicles or mobile equipment, especially those with an obstructed view 
to the rear, crushed them against an object and/or struck or rolled 
over them. A search of OSHA's Integrated Management Information System 
database identified 358 fatal backover incidents from 2005 to 2010. Of 
these deaths, 216 occurred in general industry, shipyard employment, 
maritime and agriculture industries, and 142 occurred in construction. 
OSHA has also presented information on backover hazards on its Web 
page: http://www.osha.gov/doc/topics/backover/index.html. While some 
backover fatalities are caused by forklifts, the Agency is focusing on 
vehicles with obstructed views to the rear. Because forklifts do not, 
in general, have an obstructed view to the rear, the Agency is not 
attempting to collect more information on forklifts and similar 
equipment in the stakeholder meetings.
    OSHA published a Request for Information (RFI) on backover hazards 
in the Federal Register on March 29, 2012 (77 FR 18973). The RFI was 
published jointly with a notice on hazards in Reinforced Concrete in 
Construction. OSHA received comments from 32 individuals and 
organizations, and these are available on www.regulations.gov under 
docket OSHA-2010-0059.
    Many commercial or construction vehicles have audible alarms that 
sound when the vehicle is put into reverse and backs up. OSHA has three 
construction safety standards that require backup alarms or spotters 
when backing a vehicle with an obstructed view to the rear: 29 CFR 
Sec.  1926.601(b)(4) covers motor vehicles; Sec.  1926.602(a)(9)(ii) 
covers material handling equipment; Sec.  1926.952(a)(3) covers 
equipment used in power generation and transmission construction. For 
general industry, Sec.  1910.269(p)(1)(ii) provides similar 
requirements for vehicular equipment operated at off-highway jobsites.
    New technologies have been developed to address backing hazards, 
including: Cameras and proximity sensing technology, such as radar and 
sonar, and new types of audible alarms that focus the alarm's sound or 
are combined with lights. In addition, internal traffic plans that 
control the flow of traffic and limit backing can help prevent 
backovers. The Agency is considering whether these technologies or 
other approaches, including training for drivers and spotters, can 
better address the risks of backing equipment which have an obstructed view
to the rear.

State Regulations: Virginia and Washington

    Washington and Virginia have their own state occupational safety 
and health programs and have issued regulations designed to prevent 
backover incidents. In Virginia, vehicles with an obstructed view to 
the rear, whether used in construction or general industry, must have a 
backup alarm audible above the surrounding noise level. The driver must 
also have the assistance of a camera, work with a spotter, or 
``visually determine that no employee is in the path of the vehicle'' 
prior to backing (16VAC25-97-30).
    The State of Washington's regulation is limited in scope to dump 
trucks. Washington's rule requires ``an operable mechanical device that 
provides the driver a full view behind the dump truck [to be] used, 
such as a video camera,'' or spotters when using dump trucks when 
people will be walking behind them (WAC 296-155-610(2)(f)).

II. Stakeholder Meetings

    Stakeholder meetings are meant to provide an opportunity for 
affected employers and employees, as well as safety professionals and 
equipment makers, to inform OSHA of the best means to address the risks 
of backovers. The Agency is interested in collecting information for 
all industries on:
     The risks of backovers;
     Current measures taken to address backover hazards;
     The effectiveness of those measures;
     Information about the number of vehicles or employees 
affected; and
     The costs of protective measures.

III. Public Participation

    Each stakeholder meeting will have 15-20 active participants with 
room for 20-30 observers. Meetings are expected to last about two 
hours. Stakeholders may register as ``participants'' or ``observers.'' 
Participants will actively participate in discussions and present their 
views and experience, while observers typically will not have an 
opportunity to speak unless time permits at the end of the meeting. 
Stakeholders may only register as participants in one of the two 
sessions. Each meeting will have the same questions or agenda. If too 
few stakeholders register for a particular session, the Agency will 
eliminate that session and combine it with another and inform 
registrants of the change. The meetings will be conducted as group 
discussions, with individual stakeholders describing what occurs in 
their business or industry with regard to backover hazards. To 
facilitate as much group interaction as possible, formal presentations 
will not be permitted.
    OSHA staff will be present to take part in the discussions. 
Logistics for the meetings are being managed by Eastern Research Group 
(ERG). Participants and observers must register to attend by contacting 
ERG via one of the methods described at the beginning of this notice. 
Participants and observers will be registered on a first-come, first-
serve basis. If there is room at the meeting, stakeholders or the 
general public can attend as observers if they have not pre-registered. 
Any changes to the schedule of meetings will be noted at the ERG Web 
site.
    OSHA will have a facilitator at the stakeholder meetings to help 
guide the discussion and record notes on flip charts. ERG provides a 
summary of comments at the meeting which OSHA will place on the 
backover Web page at http://www.osha.gov/doc/topics/backover/index.html
In order to encourage a free exchange of views, 
information, and ideas, these notes will not identify the individuals 
who make comments. ERG makes an audio recording of each session to 
ensure that the summary notes are accurate, but these recordings will 
not be transcribed or published. Although members of the press may 
attend stakeholder meetings, the Agency asks them not to quote speakers 
by name or affiliation in any published reports, as the intent of the 
meeting is informational only. An example of stakeholder summary 
comments can be found here: 
http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/pdf/Modernization_DC_5-25-10.pdf.

Recommendations for updating OSHA Construction Standards

OSHA is initiating a regulatory review of its existing safety and health standards in response to the President’s Executive Order 13563, ‘‘Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review’’ (76 FR 38210). The Agency conducted similar regulatory reviews of its existing standards previously as ‘‘standards improvement projects.’’ OSHA is issuing this request for information to initiate another of these regulatory reviews, and naming this review the Standards Improvement Project—Phase IV (SIP–IV). The purpose of SIP–IV is to improve and streamline OSHA standards by removing or revising requirements that are confusing or outdated, or that duplicate, or are inconsistent with, other standards. The purpose of the regulatory review is to reduce regulatory burden while maintaining or enhancing employees’ safety and health. SIP–IV will focus
primarily on OSHA’s construction standards. The purpose of this notice is to invite the public, including employers, employees, and employee representatives involved in the construction industry, to submit recommendations for revisions to existing construction standards, including the rationale for these recommendations. OSHA will review this information to determine the need for, and the content of, any subsequent SIP–IV rulemaking.
Dates: Submit comments and additional material by February 4, 2013. All submissions must bear a postmark or provide other evidence of the submission date.
AddressesSubmit comments and additional material using any of the following methods:
Electronically: Submit comments and attachments electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions online for making electronic submissions.
Facsimile (FAX): Commenters may fax submissions, including anyattachments, that are no longer than 10 pages in length to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693–1648; OSHA does not require hard copies of these documents. Commenters must submit lengthy attachments that supplement these documents (e.g., studies, journal articles) to the OSHA Docket Office, Technical Data Center, Room N–2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20210. These attachments must clearly identify the commenter’s name, date, subject, and docket number (i.e., OSHA–2012–0007) so the Agency can attach them to the appropriate comments.
Regular mail, express mail, hand (courier) delivery, or messenger service. Submit a copy of comments and any additional material (e.g., studies, journal articles) to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No.  OSHA–2012–0007, Technical Data Center, Room N–2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693–2350 (TDY number: (877) 889–5627). Note
that security procedures may result in significant delays in receiving comments and other written materials
by regular mail. Contact the OSHA Docket Office for information about security procedures concerning delivery of materials by express mail, hand delivery, or messenger service. The hours of operation for the OSHA Docket Office are 8:15 a.m.–4:45 p.m., e.t.
Instructions: All submissions received must include the Agency name and the docket number for this rulemaking (i.e., OSHA–2012–0007). OSHA places all submissions, including any personal information provided, in the public docket without change; this information will be available online at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, the Agency cautions commenters about submitting information they do not want made available to the public, or submitting comments that contain personal information (either about themselves or others) such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, and medical data.
Docket: To read or download submissions or other material in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, or contact the OSHA Docket Office at the address listed above. While the Agency lists all documents in the docket in the http://www.regulations.gov index, some information (e.g., copyrighted material) is not publicly available to read or download through this Web site. All submissions, including copyrighted material, are accessible at the OSHA Docket Office. Contact the OSHA Docket Office for assistance in locating docket
submissions.

Cranes: Hoisting Personnel

HOISTING PERSONNEL IS GENERALLY PROHIBITED: Cranes and derricks may not be used to hois employees except where the employer demonstrates that the erection, use, and dismantling of conventional means of reaching the work area, such as a personnel hoise, ladder, stairway, aerial lift, elevating work platform, or scaffold, would be more hazardous, or is not possible because of the project's structural design or worksite conditions.
This section contains stringent criteria to assure the safety of personnel who must be hoisted by a crane or derrick.

USE OF PERSONNEL PLATFORM: A personnel platform must be used when hoisting employees except when hoisting them:
  • Into and out of drill shafts that are 8 fee in diameter or smaller.
  • In pile driving operations.
  • Solely for transfer to or from a marine worksite in a marine-hoisted personnel transfer device.
  • In storage tank (steel or concrete), shaft, and chimney operations.
Where these exceptions apply, the employee may be hoisted in either a personnel platform or a boatswain's chair. See the standard for rulese applicable to these special types of lifts.

PERSONNEL PLATFORM CRITERIA: The personnel platform must conform to the following:
  • A qualified person familiar with structural design must design the personnel platform and attachment/suspension system used for hoisting personnel.
  • The system used to connect the personnel platform to the equipment must allow the platform to remain within 10 degrees of level, regardless of boom angle.
  • The suspension system must be designed to minimize tipping of the platform due to movement of employees occupying the platform.
  • The personnel platform itself (excluding the guardrail system and personal fall arrest system anchorages) must be able to support, without failure, its own weight and at least five times the maximum intended load.
  • All welding of the personnel platform and its components must be performed by a certified welder familiar with the weld grades, types and material specified in the platform design.
  • The personnel platform must be equipped with a guardrail system which meets OSHA criteria and must be enclosed at least from the toeboard to mid-rail with either solid construction material or expanded metal having openings no greater than 1/2 inch. Points to which personal fall arrest systems are attached must meet OSHA anchorage requirements.
  • A grab rail must be installed inside the entire perimeter of the personnel platform except for access gates/doors.
  • If installed, access gates/doors of all types (including swinging, sliding, folding, or other types) must:
    • Not swing outward, However, if due to the size of the personnel platform, such as a 1-person platform, it is infeasible for the door to swing inward and allow safe entry for the platform occupant, then the access gate/door may swing outward.
    • Be equipped with a device that prevents accidental opening.
  • Headroom must be sufficient to allow employees to stand upright in the platform.
  • In addition to the use of hard hats, employees must be protected by overhead protection on the personnel platform when employees are exposed to falling objects. The platform overhead protection must not obscure the view of the operator or platform occupants (such as wire mesh that has up to 1/2 inch openings) unless full protection is necessary.
  • All edges exposed to employee contact must be smooth enough to prevent injury.
  • The weight of the platform and its rated capacity must be conspicuously posted on the platform with a plate or other permanent marking.
  • The personnel platform must not be loaded in excess of its rated capacity.
  • Personnel platforms must be used only for employees, their tools, and the materials necessary to do their work.
  • Materials and tools must be secured to prevent displacement and evenly distributed within the platform.
  • The number of employees occupying the personnel platform must not exceed the maximum number the platform was designed to hold or the number required to perform the work, whicheve is less.

Aerial Lift Safety over Water

These boomsupported personnel platforms and bucket trucks (i.e., cherry pickers) may cause worker injuries or deaths. Boom failure, tip-over, falls and ejection may occur if the equipment is not properly used. Employers must take measures to ensure a safe work environment by providing:
• Safe and adequately maintained equipment
• Proper supervision and training
• Fall protection
• Prompt rescue in the event of a fall

Safe Work Practices

• Always tie-off.
• Wear a body harness with a lanyard attached to an adequate anchorage point.
• Never move the lift with workers elevated.
• Train operators to safely operate equipment.
• Maintain and operate equipment in accord with the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Ensure that equipment controls are properly marked.
• Never override safety devices. Overriding may lead to accidental or inadvertent movement of the basket or lift.
• When a lift is on a barge, be aware of the list, trim and lash down points.
• Place stops to prevent driving off when a lift is near open edges and capable of movement.
• Know the swing radius to ensure that the aerial lift will not hit nearby structures as it moves.
• When elevated, never get between structures and the lift. MOVEMENT COULD CRUSH THE WORKER.
To prevent tip-overs, it is important to:
• set brakes
• use wheel chocks
• check tire pressure
• extend outriggers
• ensure lift is level (front/back/sides)
• never operate in high winds
• never operate under power lines

National Safety Compliance produced an excellent Aerial & Scissor Lift Safety training program to help companies comply with osha regulations.

Nominations: Advisory committee, Construction Safety & Health

November 9, 2012
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999
OSHA seeks nominations for members to serve on the Advisory
Committee on Construction Safety and Health
WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that nominations are being accepted for eight new members to serve on the 15-member Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health.

ACCSH, established under the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, advises the Secretary of Labor and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health on construction standards and policy matters.

Nominations will be accepted from those interested in representing employee, employer, public and state safety and health agency representative groups. Members serve two-year terms except the representative designated by the Department of Health and Human Services and appointed by the Secretary of Labor, who serves indefinitely.

Nominations may be submitted at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Submissions may also be sent by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for details. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 7, 2013.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Fall Prevention in Construction

FALLS ARE THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN CONSTRUCTION. In 2010, there were 264 fall fatalities (255 falls to lower level) out of 774 total fatalities in construction. These deaths are preventable.
Falls can be prevented and lives can be saved through three simple steps:
  • Plan
  • Provide
  • Train
OSHA's nationwide outreach campaign is to raise awareness among workers and employers about the hazards of falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs. National Safety Compliance gives workers and employers information about falls and how to prevent them. There are also training tools for employers to use and posters to display at their worksites. Many of the new resources target vulnerable workers with limited English proficiency.
OSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) - Construction Sector on this nationwide outreach campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about common fall hazards in construction, and how falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented and lives can be saved. Here's how:
PLAN ahead to get the job done safely
When working from heights, such as ladders, scaffolds, and roofs, employers must plan projects to ensure that the job is done safely. Begin by deciding how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment may be needed to complete each task.
When estimating the cost of a job, employers should include safety equipment, and plan to have all the necessary equipment and tools available at the construction site. For example, in a roofing job, think about all of the different fall hazards, such as holes or skylights and leading edges, then plan and select fall protection suitable to that work, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS).
PROVIDE the right equipment
Workers who are six feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. To protect these workers, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.
Different ladders and scaffolds are appropriate for different jobs. Always provide workers with the kind they need to get the job done safely. For roof work, there are many ways to prevent falls. If workers use personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), provide a harness for each worker who needs to tie off to the anchor. Make sure the PFAS fits, and regularly inspect all fall protection equipment to ensure it's still in good condition and safe to use.
TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely
Falls can be prevented when workers understand proper set-up and safe use of equipment, so they need training on the specific equipment they will use to complete the job. Employers must train workers in hazard recognition and in the care and safe use ladders, scaffolds, fall protection systems, and other equipment they'll be using on the job.
OSHA has provided numerous materials and resources that employers can use during job site safety meetings to train workers on safe practices to avoid falls in construction. Falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented and lives can be saved through three simple steps: Plan, Provide and Train.

Cranes & Derricks in Construction: Certification and Qualification Requirements.

Question #1: Are assembly/disassembly, inspection and testing of cranes/derricks considered construction activities? What if these activities are performed in a general industry setting?

Response #1: Once a crane/derrick or its components are used in construction activities, this use—including assembly/disassembly, inspection and testing of the crane/derrick—is regulated by the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard. Section 1926.1400 establishes the scope of the standard as follows: "This standard applies to power-operated equipment, when used in construction, that can hoist, lower and horizontally move a suspended load..." [emphasis added]. Employers using cranes or derricks to perform non-construction activities are not covered by the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard.

In general, when an employee performs activities covered by the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard at a construction worksite, such as assembly/disassembly, inspection, hoisting loads, or traveling from place to place on the worksite, the performance of these activities is considered construction. As a result, the employer must comply with the requirements of this standard, as well as any other applicable construction standards, because the activity in question occurs on a construction site and is expediting work that is integral to the construction process.

OSHA has provided general guidance for distinguishing between construction and general industry work in our November 18, 2003 letter to Mr. Raymond V. Knobbs, our May 11, 1999 letter to Mr. J. Nigel Ellis, our February 1, 1999 letter to Mr. Randall Tindell, and our August 11, 1994 memorandum for Regional Administrators. The OSHA website, www.osha.gov, provides access to these and other materials that aid in determining when Agency construction standards under 29 CFR 1926 apply and when they do not.

Question #2: Do the operator qualification and certification requirements under §1926.1427 apply to mechanics, inspectors or testers during assembly and disassembly under §1926.1404 and during inspection under §1926.1412?

Response #2: Not generally. When the operator certification requirement of 29 CFR 1926.1427 becomes effective on November 10, 2014, an employee who operates a crane on a construction site must meet the requirements of §1926.1427 when the employee performs activities covered by the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard, such as assembly/disassembly, hoisting loads, or traveling from place to place on the worksite. However, the §1926.1427 operator qualification and certification requirements do not apply to maintenance, inspection or verification of crane/derrick performance by maintenance, inspection and repair personnel. Operation of a crane/derrick for maintenance, inspection or performance verification purposes must meet the requirements of §1926.1429, Qualifications of maintenance and repair employees. Personnel who have satisfied the requirements for qualification/certification under §1926.1427 may perform maintenance, inspection and verification of crane/derrick performance, provided that they also meet the requirements of §1926.1429.

Section 1926.1429 provides:
(a) Maintenance, inspection and repair personnel are permitted to operate the equipment only where all of the following requirements are met:
     (1) The operation is limited to those functions necessary to perform maintenance, inspect the equipment, or verify its performance.
    (2) The personnel either:
          (i) Operate the equipment under the direct supervision of an operator who meets the requirements of §1926.1427 ... ; or
          (ii) Are familiar with the operation, limitations, characteristics and hazards associated with the type of equipment.
(b) Maintenance and repair personnel must meet the definition of a qualified person1 with respect to the equipment and maintenance/repair tasks performed.
Question #3: May an employer rely on ASME B 30.5-2004 or -2007 requirements under 5-3.1.1 in determining what qualification requirements must be met by testers, inspectors and mechanics in order to comply with OSHA's construction crane/derrick standards?

Response #3: No. OSHA has not incorporated by reference ASME Standard B 30.6-2004 or 2007 at 5-3.1.1 in 29 CFR 1926. Although requirements under the ASME standard, including the requirement that maintenance and inspection personnel limit operation of equipment to necessary functions, may be similar to those under §1926.1429, OSHA is required to enforce §1926.1429.

Personal air monitoring to identify and evaluate respiratory hazards

Scenario: When installing spray foam insulation in a commercial building you are using multiple negative air machines to control worker exposures to methylene bisphenyl isocyanate (MDI). Your letter summarized how you evaluated the respiratory hazards in the work area, and you require your installers to wear full face air purifying respirators in the work area. Your evaluation was based on a copy of the manufacturer's material safety data sheet (MSDS) for the foam insulation, as well as a re-occupancy guideline from a manufacturer of foam insulation.

Question: To comply with §1910.134(d)(l)(iii) of OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard, would it be necessary to conduct air testing to evaluate respiratory hazards from the MDI during the application of the foam since the workers are already being required to wear full-face air-purifying respirators?

Response: Not necessarily. OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard at §1910.134(d)(l)(iii) states, "The employer shall identify and evaluate the respiratory hazard(s) in the workplace; this evaluation shall include a reasonable estimate of employee exposures to respiratory hazard(s) and an identification of the contaminant's chemical state and physical form." Although the most reliable and accurate method to determine exposure is to conduct personal air monitoring, it is not explicitly required by the Respiratory Protection standard. Instead, other means can be used to estimate workplace exposures. These methods include, but are not limited to, the use of objective data, application of mathematical approaches, and others. Additional information regarding hazard evaluation can be found at CPL 02-00-120, Inspection Procedures for the Respiratory Protection Standard, paragraph E. When using any of these methods, the data needs to be accurate and representative of conditions at the current work site, including materials being applied and work being performed. In addition, the assessment would also need to consider exposures to any other hazardous chemicals in the foam-application process.

The re-occupancy study that you provided should not be considered a representative estimate of your workers' exposures to MDI during the application of spray foam insulation. The study was a proposed method for determining the delay required before safely reoccupying a building following application of spray-foam insulation. The study did not provide any exposure data for workers' exposures to MDI or other chemicals during application of spray-foam insulation. Thus, this data would not satisfy the requirement at 1910.134(d)(l)(iii) for selection of appropriate respiratory protection.

In conclusion, a reasonable estimate of employee exposure would need to include data that closely resembles your work operation and expected chemical exposures. As stated above, the most accurate and reliable data is obtained by conducting personal air monitoring of your actual operation.

You should be aware that 27 states, including Connecticut, administer their own OSHA-approved occupational safety and health programs, or State Plans. All State Plans are required to cover public sector (state and local government) employees (29 U.S.C. 667(c)(6)), and 22 State Plans also cover the private sector. These State Plans must adopt and enforce standards that are at least as effective as those standards promulgated by Federal OSHA (29 U.S.C. 667(c)(2)).

Is a practical test required for crane re-certification.

August 31, 2012

Mr. James T. Callahan
Washington, DC 20036-4707

Re: Cranes; Operator Certification; 1926.1427(b)(2)(iv) and (e)(2)(iv); Whether a practical test is required for recertification.

Dear Mr. Callahan,

Thank you for your April 6, 2011 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in which your former president, Vincent Giblin, asks for guidance regarding the application of Subpart CC of 29 CFR Part 1926, Cranes and Derricks in Construction.  More specifically, you ask whether an independent testing organization's recertification of a crane operator could meet the requirements of 1926.1427 if the recertification process includes a minimum number of hours of crane experience in place of a practical exam.  The answer is yes.

OSHA requires employers to ensure that their crane operators are certified (29 CFR 1926.1427), which mandates that the operator demonstrate sufficient knowledge and skill through both written and practical tests.  See § 1926.1427(a).  With respect to the independent certification programs addressed in your letter, OSHA does not specify different requirements for recertification of operators who have already been certified, stating only that the testing organization certification program must have "testing procedures for recertification designed to ensure that the operator continues to meet the technical knowledge and skills requirements in paragraphs (j)(1) and (2)" of § 1926.1427. § 1926.1427(b)(1)(iv); see also §§ 1926.1427(c)(4) (parallel requirement for audited certification program administered by employers) and (e)(2)(iv) (parallel requirement for certification administered by government entities).1

As you note, OSHA intended this provision to be a performance-based requirement that provides some flexibility to the nationally recognized accrediting agency and the testing organizations it accredits to determine the appropriate recertification testing procedures.  OSHA explained in the preamble to the proposed rule that the negotiated rulemaking committee that developed the provision "believed that testing for recertification would not need to be as rigorous as for initial certification," and that the recertification language in the rule "was therefore included so that recertification procedures appropriate for those who have already been certified would be available."  73 Fed. Reg. 59714, 59812 (Oct. 9, 2008).  OSHA adopted the language without change in the final rule and without further explanation.  75 Fed. Reg. 47906, 58019 (Aug. 9, 2010).

The Agency notes that the recertification procedures must still ensure that the operator possesses the "technical knowledge and skills requirements" in § 1926.1427(j)(1) and (2).  Paragraph (j)(2) requires:
A determination through a practical test that the individual has the skills necessary for safe operation of the equipment, including the following:
  (i) Ability to recognize, from visual and auditory observation, the items listed in § 1926.1412(d) (shift inspection).
  (ii) Operational and maneuvering skills.
  (iii) Application of load chart information.
  (iv) Application of safe shut-down and securing procedures.
While the Agency contemplated that recertification could be less rigorous than the initial certification process, at a minimum, there must be some valid assessment of the operator's performance during the time following the previous certification, such as completing the requisite number of hours without any incident that would call into question the operator's skills in the specified areas.  In order to provide an effective measurement of the operator's current technical knowledge and skills, as required by § 1927.1427(j), OSHA recommends that any determinations based on demonstrated experience should factor in how recent the operating experience is and count only time spent operating a crane and not time accrued while performing other crane-related activities.  Ultimately, however, when a nationally recognized accrediting agency determines that a requisite number of equipment-operation hours are sufficient for verifying an individual's operating skills, no practical exam would be needed for recertification purposes.

Please note that in addition to the practical exam, the recertification process must:
  1. include a written exam that meets the requirements of § 1926.1427(j)(1);
  2. be for the same crane type and capacity for which the operator was previously certified;
  3. be for an operator who has not otherwise demonstrated during the previous certification period that he or she lacks the required knowledge or ability to operate the equipment safely; and
  4. satisfy all of the other applicable requirements of the cranes standard.

permissible to use a metal ramp to unload parts from a semi-trailer

June 27, 2012

Dear Mr. Mann:

Thank you for your April 5, 2012 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  Since it involves construction issues, it has been forwarded to the Directorate of Construction for response.  You have a specific question regarding access to a semi-trailer used to store parts on a job site.  This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of only the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not delineated in your original correspondence.

Question:  Is it permissible to use a metal ramp to unload parts from a semi-trailer when needed?

Response:  Yes, the OSHA standards do not have specific requirements for accessing a portable storage trailer on a job site.  A ramp could be a suitable means of access.  However, where the height of the trailer floor exceeds 6 feet, guard rails or other fall protection will be required.

29 CFR 1926.501(b)(6): requires that "Each employee on ramps, runways, and other walkways shall be protected from falling 6 feet (1.8m) or more to the lower level by guardrail systems."

Sincerely,

James G. Maddux, Director
Directorate of Construction

To ensure your employees have been trained properly, visit National Safety Compliance.

OSHA Saves Lives and Jobs

On May 27, 2012, David Michaels of the US Department of Labor, posted the following on the Department of Labor blog:

“OSHA doesn’t kill jobs; it helps prevent jobs from killing workers.”
I have been promoting that message since I became head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration almost three years ago. It is supported by empirical evidence—and now—it’s been confirmed by a peer-reviewed study published in Science, one of the world’s top scientific journals. Not only that, the new study, conducted by professors at the University of California and Harvard Business School, shows that OSHA inspections save billions of dollars for employers through reduced workers compensation costs.
The study, “Randomized Government Safety Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries with no Detectable Job Loss,” found that workplace injury claims dropped 9.4% at randomly chosen businesses in the four years following an inspection by the California OSHA program, compared with employers not inspected. Those same employers also saved an average of 26% on workers’ compensation costs, when compared with similar firms that were not inspected.  This means that the average employer saved $355,000 (in 2011 dollars) as a result of an OSHA inspection. The effects were seen among small and large employers.
Translated to the nation as a whole, OSHA inspections prevent thousands of workplace injuries, while saving employers money and protecting jobs.  Michael Toffel, Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, estimates that OSHA inspections nationwide could be saving employers $6 billion. And this doesn’t count the costs of lost production when workers are injured or made sick by their jobs or the pain and suffering of employees that is not compensated.
Important Conclusions from the Study:
According to the researchers, “employees almost surely gain from Cal/OSHA inspections,” and there was “no evidence that inspections lead to worse outcomes for employees or employers” in terms of employment or company survival.
“The benefits of a randomized safety inspection appear to be substantial.  These results do not support the hypothesis that OSHA regulations and inspections on average have little value in improving health and safety.” 
The fact is OSHA inspections save lives and jobs at the same time. This is not a surprise to me. I regularly hear from employers, both large and small, that they value OSHA inspections and treat the inspector as an additional, expert set of eyes.
The findings should finally put an end to the criticisms that OSHA inspections make running a business more expensive without adding value. The results are in: OSHA saves lives and jobs!

Clarification of OSHA's enforcement policies relating to floors/nets and shear connectors

Record Type: Instruction
• Old Directive Number: CPL 02-01-048
• Title: Clarification of OSHA's enforcement policies relating to floors/nets and shear connectors; Cancellation of CPL 02-01-046 (Sept. 30, 2009).
• Information Date: 04/30/2010
• Standard Number: 1926.754(b)(3); 1926.754(c)(1)

OSHA INSTRUCTION
DIRECTIVE NUMBER: CPL 02-01-048 EFFECTIVE DATE: April 30, 2010
SUBJECT: Clarification of OSHA's enforcement policies relating to floors/nets and shear connectors; Cancellation of CPL 02-01-046 (Sept. 30, 2009).
ABSTRACT
Purpose: The purpose of this Instruction is to clarify OSHA's enforcement policy on the requirements regarding: (1) fully planked or decked floors or nets, which was announced in Question and Answer #23 in OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34), issued March 22, 2002, and (2) the use of pre-installed shear connectors during steel erection, which was announced in Question and Answer #25 in OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34), issued March 22, 2002.

This Instruction does not alter any other provisions of OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34), which remains in full force and effect.
Scope: OSHA-wide.
References: OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34) Question and Answer #23 and Question and Answer #25; OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-046 (Sept. 30, 2009); Field Operations Manual (FOM), CPL 02-00-148 (Nov. 9, 2009).
State Plan Impact: Notice of Intent and Equivalency is required. See Paragraph VI.
Action Offices: National, Regional, and Area Offices
Originating Office: Directorate of Construction
Contact: (202) 693-2020
Directorate of Construction,
N3468, FPB
200 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20210


By and Under the Authority of

David Michaels, PhD, MPH
Assistant Secretary

Executive Summary
The purpose of this Instruction is to clarify OSHA's enforcement policy on the requirements in the steel erection standards regarding: (1) fully planked or decked floors or nets, which was announced in Question and Answer #23 in OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34), issued March 22, 2002, and (2) the use of pre-installed shear connectors during steel erection, which was announced in Question and Answer #25 in OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2- 1.34), issued March 22, 2002.
Significant Changes
This Instruction amends OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34) issued March 22, 2002, as follows:
  1. In Chapter 4, Section V, Structural Steel Assembly, Question and Answer #23, a policy was announced in which a failure to comply with the requirement in 29 C.F.R. 1926.754(b)(3) for a fully planked or decked floor or net was considered a de mimimis violation where the employer required that all workers be protected by fall protection. The Agency is rescinding that policy.
  2. In Chapter 4, Section V, Structural Steel Assembly, Question and Answer #25, a policy was announced in which a failure to comply with a requirement in 29 C.F.R. 1926.754(c)(1) that shear connectors be field-installed after installation of decking would be considered a de mimimis violation where the employer required that all workers be protected by fall protection. The Agency is rescinding that policy.
This Instruction does not alter any other provisions of OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34), which remains in full force and effect. The revision to Question and Answer #23 is effective as of April 30, 2010. The de minimis policy described in the original version of Question and Answer #25 will continue to apply where the component was fabricated with shear connectors or other similar devices prior to April 30, 2011, or where the contract date for fabrication of the component with factory-installed shear connectors or other similar devices was prior to April 30, 2011. In all other instances the revised version of Question and Answer #25 is effective as of April 30, 2010. The text of the OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34) on the web will be amended accordingly within two weeks of the issuance date. In addition, OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-046 (Sept. 30, 2009) is cancelled, effective as of April 30, 2010.

Table of Contents
  1. Purpose
  2. Scope
  3. References
  4. Cancellations
  5. Action Offices
  6. Federal Program Change
  7. Federal Program Change
  8. Significant Changes

  1. Purpose. The purpose of this Instruction is to clarify OSHA's enforcement policy on the requirements regarding: (1) fully planked or decked floors or nets, which was announced in Question and Answer #23 in OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34), issued March 22, 2002, and (2) the use of pre-installed shear connectors during steel erection, which was announced in Question and Answer #25 in OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34), issued March 22, 2002.

    This Instruction does not alter any other provisions of OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34), which remains in full force and effect.
  2. Scope. OSHA-wide.
  3. References. OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34); OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-046 (Sept. 30, 2009); Field Operations Manual (FOM), CPL 02-00-148 (Nov. 9, 2009).
  4. Cancellations. Question and Answer #23 and Question and Answer #25 of OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34); OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-046 (Sept. 30, 2009).
  5. Action Offices. National, Regional, and Area Offices.
  6. Federal Program Change. Notice of Intent and Equivalency Required. This Instruction clarifies OSHA's de minimis policy relating to requirements regarding: (1) fully planked or decked floors or nets, as contained in Question and Answer #23, and (2) the use of preinstalled shear connectors during steel erection, as contained in Question and Answer #25, of OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34), Inspection Policies and Procedures for OSHA's Steel Erection Standard, issued March 22, 2002.

    States with OSHA-approved State Plans must have a compliance directive on their steel erection standard that is at least as effective as Federal OSHA's CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34) and which must be available for review. If a State has a similar de minimis policy as those described in this Instruction, then the State, in order to maintain its at least as effective status, must modify its policies to reflect this Federal change by either amending its underlying steel erection directive or adopting the changes in the manner described in this Instruction.

    States are required to notify OSHA whether they intend to adopt the change in policies and procedures identical to those contained in this Instruction or adopt or maintain different inspection policies and procedures for their steel erection standard for construction. If a State adopts or maintains policies and instructions that differ from Federal OSHA's, the State must identify the differences in its policies and either post its different policies on its State Plan website and provide the link to OSHA or provide a copy to OSHA with information on how the public may obtain a copy from the State. If the State adopts identical policies and procedures, it must provide the date of adoption to OSHA. In responding to this change in policy, States are asked to provide a copy or link to ALL of their Steel Erection enforcement policies and procedures, including these modifications. OSHA will provide summary information on the State responses to this Instruction on its website.
  7. Background. Section 1926.754(b)(3) allows an employer to choose among two options for complying with the provision: install either a (fall protection) net or a floor within two stories or 30 feet (whichever is less). These options provide different safety benefits.

    A net provides effective fall protection for workers engaged in certain steel erection activities (initial connecting and decking) who, under 1926.760(b)(3) and (c), are permitted to work without using fall protection. It also provides fall protection in the event of non-compliance with the fall protection requirements in 1926.760.

    Although a floor in this context does not provide effective fall protection, it limits the fall distance. Also, unlike a net, a floor "can be used as a staging area for emergency rescue." (See volume 66 of the Federal Register, January 18, 2001, at page 5213.) Finally, another provision, 1926.759(b), requires falling object protection if other construction processes are permitted to work below steel erection activities. The installation of a floor provides such protection and therefore can serve as a means of complying with 1926.759(b).

    Section 1926.754(c) is an engineering control designed to help prevent tripping, and therefore reduces the risk of injury from falling on a shear connector as well as from falling from structural steel. While it is not a comprehensive method of protecting workers from falls, it is a means of reducing the risk of a fall occurring.

    Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatalities among construction workers, including workers engaged in steel erection. The Agency believes that it is important to encourage employers to consistently use fall protection at all times for all workers exposed to fall hazards. However, in light of the safety benefits accorded by sections 1926.754(b)(3)
    and
    1926.754(c), OSHA has concluded that it is ordinarily inappropriate to consider the violation of these provisions to be de minimis on the basis that personal protective systems are in use. Therefore, OSHA has revised Qs & As 23 and 25 to indicate that the use of 100 percent fall protection is not ordinarily a basis for considering a failure to comply with these provisions as de minimis. However, compliance staff retain their normal discretion to determine, on a case by case basis, that violations are de minimis where there is no direct or immediate relationship to safety or health, and the employer's use of personal fall protective systems at all times may be a factor in such a determination.
  8. Significant Changes. This Instruction amends OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34) issued March 22, 2002, as follows:

    1. In Chapter 4, Section V, Structural Steel Assembly, Question and Answer #23, a policy was announced in which a failure to comply with the requirement in 29 C.F.R. 1926.754(b)(3) for a fully planked or decked floor or net was considered a de mimimis violation where the employer required that all workers be protected by fall protection. The Agency is rescinding that policy. The revised Question and Answer #23 shall read:
      Question 23: Section 1926.754 (b)(3) requires a "fully planked or decked floor or nets" in multi-story structures within two stories or 30 feet, whichever is less. Section 1926.760 requires workers above 15 feet to be protected from falls, with two exceptions: section 1926.760(b)(3) and (c) allows workers engaged in certain steel erection activities (initial connecting; decking in a Controlled Decking Zone) below 30 feet to work without using fall protection. Can an employer's requirement that all workers be protected by fall arrest systems, including those engaged in connecting and decking, take the place of compliance with the 1926.754(b)(3) floor/net requirement?

      Answer: While OSHA encourages employers to exceed the fall protection requirements of the standard and have all workers use fall protection, section 1926.754(b)(3) provides additional safeguards. Therefore, such an employer would be required to comply with 1926.754(b)(3). However, compliance staff retain their normal discretion to determine, on a case by case basis, that violations are de minimis where there is no direct or immediate relationship to safety or health, and the employer's use of personal fall protection systems at all times may be a factor in such a determination. See OSHA's Field Operations Manual, CPL 02-00-148 (Nov. 9, 2009), section VIII.
      The revision of Question and Answer #23 is effective as of the issuance date of the directive.
    2. In Chapter 4, Section V, Structural Steel Assembly, Question and Answer #25, a policy was announced in which a failure to comply with a requirement in 29 C.F.R. 1926.754(c)(1) that shear connectors be field-installed after installation of decking would be considered a de mimimis violation where the employer required that all workers be protected by fall protection. The Agency is rescinding that policy. The revised Question and Answer #25 shall read:
      Question 25: If an employer requires the use of fall protection for all workers, including workers engaged in connecting and decking, would the employer still be required to comply with 1926.754(c)(1) - would the employer still be prohibited from erecting beams, joists or beam attachments with shop-installed shear connectors?

      Answer: While OSHA encourages employers to exceed the fall protection requirements of the standard and have all workers use fall protection, section 1926.754(c)(1) is an engineering control that helps prevent tripping, which helps to prevent injury from falling on a shear connector and helps to prevent falls. Therefore, such an employer would be required to comply with section 1926.754(c)(1). However, compliance staff retain their normal discretion to determine, on a case by case basis, that violations are de minimis where there is no direct or immediate relationship to safety or health, and the employer's use of personal fall protection systems at all times may be a factor in such a determination. See OSHA's Field Operations Manual, CPL 02-00-148 (November 9, 2009), section VIII.
      NOTE: Phase-in of revision: This revised version of Q & A 25 will not be applied where: (1) the component was fabricated with shear connectors or other similar devices prior to April 30, 2011, or (2) the contract date for fabrication of the component with factory-installed shear connectors or other similar devices was prior to April 30, 2011. In all other instances the revised version of Question and Answer #25 is effective as of April 30, 2010.

      This Instruction does not alter any other provisions of OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34), which remains in full force and effect. The revision to Question and Answer #23 is effective as of April 30, 2010. The de minimis policy described in the original version of Question and Answer #25 will continue to apply where the component was fabricated with shear connectors or other similar devices prior to April 30, 2011, or where the contract date for fabrication of the component with factory-installed shear connectors or other similar devices was prior to April 30, 2011. In all other instances the revised version of Question and Answer #25 is effective as of April 30, 2010. The text of the OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-034 (formerly CPL 2-1.34) on the web will be amended accordingly within two weeks of the issuance date.

OSHA News Release-New Campaign Prevent Falls in Construction

OSHA News Release: 12-782-NAT
April 26, 2012
Contact: Jesse Lawder     Egan Reich
Phone: 202-693-4659       202-693-4960
Email: lawder.jesse@dol.gov      reich.egan.2@dol.gov
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis observes Workers' Memorial Day at Action
Summit for Worker Safety and Health, announces fall prevention campaign
LOS ANGELES – Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced a new campaign led by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration to prevent deadly falls in the construction industry. The awareness campaign will provide employers and workers with life-saving information and educational materials about working safely from ladders, scaffolds and roofs. In 2010, more than 10,000 construction workers were injured as a result of falling while working from heights, and another 255 workers were killed.

Secretary Solis made the announcement at the Action Summit for Worker Safety and Health, which was held at East Los Angeles Community College as one of multiple events this week honoring Workers' Memorial Day. The Labor Department sponsored the summit in coordination with the University of California, Los Angeles' Labor Occupational Safety and Health program, and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Workers' Memorial Day is observed annually on April 28 across the country to remember workers who lost their lives as a result of preventable injuries.

"The best way to honor Workers' Memorial Day is to make sure that another family does not have to suffer the pain of losing a loved one because of preventable workplace injuries," said Secretary Solis. "Falls are the most fatal out of all hazards in the construction industry, accounting for almost one in every three construction worker deaths. Our simple message is that safety pays, and falls cost."

OSHA's fall prevention campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. OSHA and NIOSH will work with trade associations, labor unions, employers, universities, community and faith-based organizations, and consulates to provide employers and workers – especially vulnerable, low-literacy workers – with education and training on common-sense fall prevention equipment and strategies that save lives.

OSHA has created a new fall prevention Web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls. National Safety Compliance also provides training materials to help companies comply with the OSHA 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M Fall Protection regulation for Construction Industries.

"The busy summer months in the construction industry are upon us, and now is the time to ensure that workers and employers understand what is required to prevent falls," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "When working at heights, everyone needs to plan ahead to get the job done safely, provide the right equipment and train workers to use the equipment safely."

OSHA News Release-Hazard Communication Standard Changed

Release Number: 12-280-NAT
March 20, 2012
Contact: Diana Petterson Jesse Lawder
Phone: 202-693-4681 202-693-4659
Email: petterson.diana@dol.gov lawder.jesse@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA revises Hazard Communication Standard
Regulation protects workers from dangerous chemicals,
helps American businesses compete worldwide

To better protect workers from hazardous chemicals, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has revised its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations' global chemical labeling system. The new standard, once implemented, will prevent an estimated 43 deaths and result in an estimated $475.2 million in enhanced productivity for U.S. businesses each year.

"Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious dangers facing American workers today," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Revising OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard will improve the quality, consistency and clarity of hazard information that workers receive, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive in the global marketplace."

The Hazard Communication Standard, being revised to align with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, will be fully implemented in 2016 and benefit workers by reducing confusion about chemical hazards in the workplace, facilitating safety training and improving understanding of hazards, especially for low literacy workers. OSHA's standard will classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and establish consistent labels and safety data sheets for all chemicals made in the United States and imported from abroad.

The revised standard also is expected to prevent an estimated 585 injuries and illnesses annually. It will reduce trade barriers and result in estimated annualized benefits in productivity improvements for American businesses that regularly handle, store and use hazardous chemicals, as well as cost savings of $32.2 million for American businesses that periodically update safety data sheets and labels for chemicals covered under the standard.

"OSHA's 1983 Hazard Communication Standard gave workers the right to know. As one participant expressed during our rulemaking process, this update will give them the right to understand, as well," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

During the transition period to the effective completion dates noted in the standard, chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers may comply with either 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.1200 (the final standard), the current standard or both.

The final rule revising the standard is available at http://s.dol.gov/P1*.

Residential Construction Questions & Answers!

Which OSHA standards address fall hazards in construction work?

29 CFR Part 1926, Subpart M, which became effective on February 6, 1995, contains general fall protection requirements for construction work. Additional fall protection requirements can be found throughout Part 1926.

What are the Subpart M requirements for residential construction?

Under 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13), workers engaged in residential construction six (6) feet or more above lower levels must be protected by conventional fall protection (i.e., guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems) or alternative fall protection measures allowed under 1926.501(b) for particular types of work. A personal fall arrest system may consist of a full body harness, a deceleration device, a lanyard, and an anchor point. (See the definition of "personal fall arrest system" in 29 CFR 1926.500). If an employer can demonstrate that fall protection required under 1926.501(b)(13) is infeasible or presents a greater hazard it must implement a written, site-specific fall protection plan meeting the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.502(k). The fall protection plan must specify alternative measures that will be used to eliminate or reduce the possibility of employee falls.

There is a "Sample Fall Protection Plan" in Appendix E of Subpart M. Why did OSHA prepare this appendix?

OSHA included Appendix E in Subpart M to show employers and employees what a compliant fall protection plan might look like.

Why did OSHA issue Instruction STD 3.1 "Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction" in 1995?

Once the final rule for Subpart M was published, representatives from the residential construction industry, including the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), expressed ongoing concerns about complying with 1926.501(b)(13). For example, industry representatives were concerned about the feasibility of establishing proper anchor points on wood-framed structures. In response to their concerns and to give OSHA time to revisit some feasibility issues, the Agency issued Directive STD 3.1. The directive allowed employers doing specified residential construction activities to comply with the requirements of Subpart M by implementing the alternative fall protection and work procedures prescribed in the directive. The alternative procedures could be used without a prior showing of infeasibility or greater hazard and without a written fall protection plan. The Agency did not intend STD 3.1 to be a permanent policy.

Why did OSHA reissue STD 3.1 as STD 3-0.1A in 1998?

OSHA issued STD 3-0.1A (later redesignated as STD 03-00-001) as a plain language replacement for STD 3.1. In STD 03-00-001, the Agency made some changes to the original interim guidance to clarify the scope of the directive and the Agency's enforcement policy with respect to fall protection requirements for the specific construction activities covered by the directive. In STD 03-00-001, OSHA indicated that it intended to reevaluate the interim policy after soliciting additional public comment.

Why did OSHA issue an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) for Subpart M in 1999?

OSHA issued an ANPR for Subpart M in 1999 in part to obtain information from the public that it could use to evaluate the effectiveness of and need for STD 03-00-001. In the ANPR, the Agency noted that there had been progress in the types and capability of commercially available fall protection equipment since 1926.501(b)(13) was promulgated in 1994. OSHA also stated in the ANPR that it intended to rescind STD 03-00-001 unless persuasive evidence was submitted showing that it is infeasible or presents significant safety hazards for most residential construction employers to comply with 1926.501(b)(13).

Did OSHA rely on sources of information in addition to the comments received in response to the ANPR in evaluating whether to continue the interim enforcement policy contained in STD 03-00-001?

Yes. A Residential Fall Protection Work Group within OSHA's Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) has reported to ACCSH on a number of presentations they have seen from home builders and fall protection equipment manufacturers describing new ways of providing safe and effective fall protection in residential construction. ACCSH has recommended rescission of STD 03-00-001 on two separate occasions – first in 2000 and again in 2008. Also in 2008, both the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association (OSHSPA) and the NAHB submitted letters to OSHA advocating for withdrawal of STD 03-00-001. The NRCA has continued to oppose rescission of STD 03-00-001 with respect to roofing work, but a representative of that organization conceded at an ACCSH meeting in December 2009 that nowadays it is "very tough" to establish that conventional fall protection is infeasible or creates a greater hazard.

Now that OSHA has rescinded STD 03-00-001, what do residential construction employers have to do to protect employees from fall hazards?

  • Employees working six (6) feet or more above lower levels must be protected by conventional fall protection methods listed in 1926.501(b)(13) ( i.e., guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems ) or alternative fall protection measures allowed by other provisions of 29 CFR 1926.501(b) for particular types of work.

  • An example of an alternative fall protection measure allowed under 1926.501(b) is the use of warning lines and safety monitoring systems during the performance of roofing work on low-sloped roofs. (4 in 12 pitch or less). (See 1926.501(b)(10)).

  • OSHA allows the use of an effective fall restraint system in lieu of a personal fall arrest system. To be effective, a fall restraint system must be rigged to prevent a worker from reaching a fall hazard and falling over the edge. A fall restraint system may consist of a full body harness or body belt that is connected to an anchor point at the center of a roof by a lanyard of a length that will not allow a worker to physically reach the edge of the roof.

  • When the employer can demonstrate that it is infeasible or creates a greater hazard to use required fall protection systems, a qualified person must develop a written site-specific fall protection plan in accordance with 1926.502(k) that, among other things, specifies the alternative fall protection methods that will be used to protect workers from falls.

When will residential construction employers that were covered by STD 03-00-001 have to start complying with 1926.501(b)(13)?

The effective date of STD 03-11-002 is June 16, 2011.

Why was compliance directive STD 03-00-001 rescinded?

Falls continue to be the leading cause of death among construction workers. Statistics show that fatalities from falls are consistently high for residential construction activities. OSHA considered the comments received in response to the 1999 ANPR and was not persuaded that compliance with 1926.501(b)(13) is infeasible or presents significant safety hazards for most residential construction employers. The recommendations from ACCSH, OSHSPA, and the NAHB, as well as the mounting evidence that has been presented to the ACCSH Residential Fall Protection Work Group showing that conventional fall protection is available and can be used safely for almost all residential construction operations, provide a separate and independent grounds for OSHA's decision to withdraw STD 03-00-001.

What are the training requirements for the use of fall protection systems?

In accordance with 29 CFR 1926.503, the employer must ensure that each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards has been trained by a competent person to recognize the hazards of falling and in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize those hazards. In addition, the employer must verify the training of each employee by preparing a written certification record that contains the name/identity of the employee trained, the date(s) of training, and the signature of the employer or the person who conducted the training.

Is OSHA prohibiting the use of slideguards as employee protection during the performance of roofing activities in residential construction?

Slideguards cannot simply be used in lieu of conventional fall protection methods under 1926.501(b)(13). However, slideguards may be used as part of a written, site-specific fall protection plan that meets the requirements of 1926.502(k) if the employer can demonstrate that the use of conventional fall protection (i.e., guardrail, safety net, or personal fall arrest systems) would be infeasible or create greater hazards.

Can monitors still be used?

Under 1926.501(b)(10), safety monitoring systems can be used in conjunction with a warning line system to protect employees during the performance of roofing work on roofs of 4 in 12 pitch or less. When such a roof is 50 feet (15.25 m) or less in width, a safety monitoring system can be used alone, i.e., without a warning line system. Under 1926.501(b)(13), if the employer can demonstrate that the use of conventional fall protection would be infeasible or create a greater hazard, monitors may be used as part of an employer's written fall protection plan under 1926.502(k).

Are there requirements for safety monitoring systems?

Yes. Safety monitoring systems must meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.502(h) including, but not limited to, requirements that the monitor:

  • be competent to recognize fall hazards;
  • be on the same walking working surface and within visual sighting distance of the employee being monitored;
  • be close enough to communicate orally with the employee; and
  • not have other responsibilities which could take the monitor's attention from the monitoring function.

Can a standardized fall protection plan be developed and implemented for the construction of dwellings that are of the same basic structural design?

Before using a fall protection plan at a particular worksite, the employer must first be able to demonstrate that it is infeasible or presents a greater hazard to use conventional fall protection methods at that site. Fall protection plans must be site-specific to comply with §1926.502(k). A written fall protection plan developed for repetitive use, e.g., for a particular style or model of home, will be considered site-specific with respect to a particular site only if it fully addresses all issues related to fall protection at that site. Therefore, a standardized plan will have to be reviewed, and revised as necessary, on a site by site basis.

What are some of the benefits of rescinding STD 03-00-001?

  • Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in residential construction. OSHA has concluded that fall hazards pose a significant risk of death or serious injury for construction workers and that compliance with the requirements of Subpart M is reasonably necessary to protect workers from those hazards.
  • STD 03-00-001 addressed only certain, specified types of residential construction work. Withdrawing that directive will result in consistent enforcement policy with respect to all residential construction activities.
  • Several state plan OSHA programs did not adopt, or have already rescinded, the enforcement policy described in STD 03-00-001. Therefore, rescinding the compliance directive will promote consistency among all states regarding the enforcement of fall protection requirements for residential construction.
  • OSHA expects that further advances in the design technologies of fall protection equipment will be triggered by the demands of employers who may encounter compliance difficulties on particular work sites.

What is "residential construction"?

The Agency's interpretation of "residential construction" for purposes of 1926.501(b)(13) combines two elements – both of which must be satisfied for a project to fall under that provision:

  • The end-use of the structure being built must be as a home, i.e., a dwelling; and
  • The structure being built must be constructed using traditional wood frame construction materials and methods.

The limited use of structural steel in a predominantly wood-framed home, such as a steel I-beam to help support wood framing, does not disqualify a structure from being considered residential construction.

Traditional wood frame construction materials and methods will be characterized by:

  • Framing materials: Wood (or equivalent cold-formed sheet metal stud) framing, not steel or concrete; wooden floor joists and roof structures.
  • Exterior wall structure: Wood (or equivalent cold-formed sheet metal stud) framing or masonry brick or block.
  • Methods: Traditional wood frame construction techniques.

Why are only "dwellings" considered "residential construction"?

Limiting the scope of 1926.501(b)(13) to the construction of homes/dwellings comports with the plain meaning of the term "residential" in the text of that paragraph and is consistent with OSHA's intent in promulgating that provision.

OSHA: Injury and Illness Prevention Programs

OSHA has published a new Injury and Illness Prevention Programs White Paper on the agency's Web site. An injury and illness prevention program is a proactive process to help employers find and fix workplace hazards before workers are hurt. These programs are effective at reducing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Many workplaces have already adopted such approaches, for example as part of OSHA's cooperative programs. Not only do these employers experience dramatic decreases in workplace injuries, but they often report a transformed workplace culture that can lead to higher productivity and quality, reduced turnover, reduced costs, and greater employee satisfaction.

Thirty-four states and many nations around the world already require or encourage employers to implement such programs. The key elements common to all of these programs are management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement.

OSHA believes that adoption of injury and illness prevention programs based on simple, sound, proven principles will help millions of U.S. businesses improve their compliance with existing laws and regulations, decrease the incidence of workplace injuries and illnesses, reduce costs (including significant reductions in workers' compensation premiums) and enhance their overall business operations. Read more on OSHA's Injury and Illness Prevention Programs Web page.

OSHA has also initiated a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) Panel Process on a draft Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule on January 6, 2012. The SBREFA Panel process is an opportunity, prior to publishing a proposed rule, for affected small entities (including small businesses, small local governments and small not-for-profit entities) to provide input on the impacts of a draft proposed rule--as well as alternatives that OSHA is considering--on small business and to suggest ways such impacts might be decreased, consistent with agency statutory goals. OSHA convened a SBREFA Panel, which consists of members from OSHA, the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, and the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (5 U.S.C. 609 (b)(3)).

Injury and Illness Prevention Programs, known by a variety of names, are universal interventions that can substantially reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries and alleviate the associated financial burdens on U.S. workplaces. Many states have requirements or voluntary guidelines for workplace injury and illness prevention programs. Also, numerous employers in the United States already manage safety using Injury and Illness Prevention Programs and we believe that all employers can and should do the same. Most successful injury and illness prevention programs are based on a common set of key elements. These include: management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement. This topics page provides information relevant to Injury and Illness Prevention Programs in the workplace.

OSHA Inspection Priorities

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is committed to strong, fair and effective enforcement of safety and health requirements in the workplace. OSHA inspectors, called compliance safety and health officers, are experienced, well-trained industrial hygienists and safety professionals whose goal is to assure compliance with OSHA requirements and help employers and workers reduce on-the-job hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and deaths in the workplace. Normally, OSHA conducts inspections without advance notice. Employers have
the right to require compliance officers to obtain an inspection warrant before entering the worksite.

Priorities

OSHA cannot inspect all 7 million workplaces it covers each year. The agency seeks to focus its inspection resources on the most hazardous workplaces in the following order of priority:
1. Imminent danger situations—hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm—receive top priority. Compliance officers will ask employers to correct these hazards immediately—or remove endangered employees.
2. Fatalities and catastrophes—incidents that involve a death or the hospitalization of three or more employees—come next. Employers must report such catastrophes to OSHA within 8 hours.
3. Complaints—allegations of hazards or violations also receive a high priority. Employees may request anonymity when they file complaints.
4. Referrals of hazard information from other federal, state or local agencies, individuals, organizations or the media receive consideration for inspection.
5. Follow-ups—checks for abatement of violations cited during previous inspections—are also conducted by the agency in certain circumstances.
6. Planned or programmed investigations— inspections aimed at specific high-hazard industries or individual workplaces that have experienced high rates of injuries and illnesses— also receive priority.

To ensure you are ready for an OSHA Inspection, safety training must be provided to all employees. National Safety Compliance has produced up-to-date accurate Safety Training DVDs to ensure compliance with OSHA regulations.

Third Party Qualified Evaluators

Question #1: Do the IACP and JTAC qualify as third party qualified evaluators for purposes of evaluating signal person qualifications in accordance with 29 CFR 1926.1428(a)(1)?

Answer: OSHA defines a "qualified evaluator (third party)" in 29 CFR 1926.1401
as an entity that, due to its independence and expertise, has demonstrated that it is competent in accurately assessing whether individuals meet the Qualification Requirements in this subpart for a signal person.

OSHA requires each employer of a signal person to use a qualified evaluator (a third party or an employee) to verify that the signal person possesses a minimum set of knowledge and skills [29 CFR 1926.1428(a)]. In general, OSHA does not evaluate or endorse specific products or programs, and therefore makes no determination as to whether either program meets the definition of a "qualified evaluator (third party)." It should be noted, however, that in the preamble to the final subpart CC rule, OSHA stated that "labor-management joint apprenticeship training programs that train and assess signal persons would typically meet the definition for a third-party qualified evaluator....." 75 Federal Register 48029, (August 9, 2010). Ultimately, the employer is responsible for assuring that its employees are adequately trained regardless of whether the employees' qualification is assessed by the employer or a third party. See 29 CFR 1926.1428(b) and 1926.1430(b).

Questions #2: Does a JTAC-issued certification card satisfy the requirement for documentation of training for a qualified signal person if the card certifies that the holder has successfully completed testing on the listed specific categories of signals (voice, hand, radio, etc.)?

Answer: Certification cards issued by a third party qualified evaluator or the employer's qualified evaluator would be satisfactory documentation of a signal person's qualification under 1926.1428 provided that the cards specify each type of signaling for which the signal person is qualified, and denote that the card bearer:

  1. knows and understands the type of signal used at the work site;
  2. is competent in the application of the type of signal used at the work site;
  3. has a basic understanding of the equipment operation and limitations, including the crane dynamics involved in swinging and stopping loads and boom deflection from hoisting loads;
  4. knows and understands the relevant requirements of 1926.1419 through 1926.1422 and 1926.1428; and
  5. has demonstrated his/her knowledge of the requirements of items (1) through (4) above through an oral or written test, and through a practical test.
Questions #3: Can an employee's or employer's possession of such a card at the worksite satisfy the 1926.1428(a)(3) requirement that such documentation be "available at the site while the signal person is employed by the employer?"

Answer: Yes. As noted in the preamble to the final rule, the 1926.1928(a)(3) requirement was included in the final rule because OSHA and the C-DAC committee felt that "it is important for employers to make the documentation of signal person qualifications readily available to employees and others who need to rely on those qualifications, such as crane operators who rely on signal persons provided by a different employer, or OSHA for compliance purposes" (75 Federal Register 48029). In practical terms, this availability requirement means that if a crane operator or that operator's employer, an OSHA compliance officer, or another person who needs to verify the qualifications of the signal person requests to see the documentation, the employer must produce it immediately. So long as the card qualifies as documentation of training in accordance with the answer to Question 2, and is on the person of the signal person, in a location where it can be retrieved immediately, or immediately available electronically to present to the requestor, the card would satisfy the availability requirement of 1926.1428(a)(3).