OSHA issues rule to update regulations and decrease burden on businesses

OSHA issues rule to update regulations and decrease burden on businesses

Paperwork
On Nov. 20, OSHA issued a direct final rule, along with a companion notice of proposed rulemaking, that revises requirements of OSHA's standard for mechanical power presses, which punch, form or assemble metal or other materials. Workers can be exposed to hand, finger or arm injuries-often resulting in amputation-if parts of a press are worn, damaged or not operating properly. The new rule eliminates a requirement for employers to document mandatory weekly inspections of these presses while clarifying the responsibility of employers to perform and document any maintenance or repairs necessary to protect the safety of workers who operate them. The final rule will be effective Feb.18, 2014, unless OSHA receives a significant adverse comment by Dec. 20, 2013. See the news release and Federal Register notice for more information and go to www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal, to submit comments electronically.

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OSHA News Release: 13-2230-NAT
Nov. 20, 2013
Contact: Jesse Lawder     Jason Kuruvilla
Phone: 202-693-4659     202-693-6587
Email: lawder.jesse@dol.gov     kuruvilla.jason@dol.gov

US Department of Labor announces rules
to update regulations and decrease burden on businesses

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced four rules designed to reduce unnecessary burdens on employers by updating or rescinding obsolete regulations and requirements. A rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration updates and streamlines the standards for the use of mechanical power presses while the remaining three rules from the Employment and Training Administration rescind outdated Foreign Labor Certification regulations for the H-2A, F-1 and H-1A programs. The rules published today complement President Obama's executive order 13610* to modernize the regulatory system and reduce unjustified regulatory burdens.

"Creating a framework that ensures workers are safe and treated fairly is the right thing to do, and updating rules and standards is also the right thing to do," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "The rules announced today maintain standards, lessen the burden on employers and help grow our economy."
The OSHA rule issued today, along with a companion notice of proposed rulemaking, revises requirements of OSHA's standard for mechanical power presses, which punch, form or assemble metal or other materials. Workers can be exposed to hand, finger or arm injuries-often resulting in amputation-if parts of a press are worn, damaged or not operating properly. The new rule will eliminate a requirement for employers to document mandatory weekly inspections of these presses while clarifying the responsibility of employers to perform and document any maintenance or repairs necessary to protect the safety of workers who operate them. Removing the weekly inspection and test certifications will reduce 613,600 hours of unnecessary paperwork burden on employers. The final rule will be effective Feb.18, 2014, unless OSHA receives a significant adverse comment by Dec. 20, 2013. If the agency receives a significant adverse comment, the accompanying notice of proposed rulemaking will allow the agency to continue the notice-and-comment component of the rulemaking by withdrawing the direct final rule. Individuals may submit comments electronically at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Submissions may also be sent via facsimile or mail.

In addition, OSHA will align the existing standard's maintenance and repair provisions to the American National Standards Institute standard for safety requirements for mechanical power presses. This standard would explicitly state that maintenance and repair must be completed before the mechanical power press is operated and, in keeping with the ANSI standard, employers would certify maintenance and repair for the entire machine rather than for certain parts of the power press. See Federal Register notice at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/11/20/2013-27695/record-requirements-in-the-mechanical-power-presses-standard for more details.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification within the Employment and Training Administration announced three additional final rules today rescinding obsolete regulations.

The first is the Direct Final Rule for the ETA Labor Certification Process for Logging Employment and Non-H-2A Agricultural Employment. This final rule rescinds the regulations found at 20 CFR 655 Subpart C, which established regulations for employers in the logging industry. Employers seeking to temporarily employ foreign workers in logging operations are now governed by the regulations in Subpart B applicable to H-2A agricultural work and the Subpart C has no force and effect. See Federal Register notice at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/11/20/2013-27693/labor-certification-process-for-logging-employment-and-non-h-2a-agricultural-employment for more details.

The second is the Direct Final Rule for the ETA Attestation Process for Employers Using F-1 Students in Off-Campus Work. This final rule rescinds the regulations found at 20 CFR 655 subparts J and K, which provided rules governing employers seeking to hire F-1 foreign students as part-time workers off-campus. These subparts became obsolete after the authorizing statute and its two-year extension expired in 1996. Accordingly, the Department of Labor is taking this action to remove regulations that no longer have force and effect. See Federal Register notice at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/11/20/2013-27685/attestation-process-for-employers-using-f-1-students-in-off-campus-work for more details.

The third is the Direct Final Rule for the ETA Removal of Attestation Process for Facilities Using H-1A Registered Nurses Subparts D and E Regulations. This final rule rescinds the regulations found at 20 CFR 655 Subparts D and E, which provided rules governing health care facilities using nonimmigrant foreign workers as registered nurses under the H-1A visa program. These subparts became obsolete after the authorizing statute and all extensions expired fully on Aug. 31, 2001.Accordingly, the department is taking this action to remove regulations that no longer have force and effect. See Federal Register notice at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/11/20/2013-27683/removal-of-attestation-process-for-facilities-using-h-1a-registered-nurses for more details.

Workplace and the Flu

Workplace Safety and the Flu
 
This page includes information for workers and employers about how to reduce the spread of the flu in workplaces. It provides information on the basic precautions that should be used in all workplaces and the additional precautions that should be used in healthcare settings. Workers who perform certain types of healthcare tasks for patients who may have the flu may be at a higher risk for exposure to the flu virus; additional precautions are needed. Some of these healthcare tasks include direct patient care; aerosol-generating procedures; specimen analysis; and other patient support, like dietary and housekeeping services. These tasks can be performed in different settings such as inpatient and outpatient healthcare facilities; home healthcare settings; and health services facilities in schools, industrial workplaces, or correctional institutions. If you are or employ one of these workers, select "Healthcare" above. If not, then select "Other Workplaces." HHS/CDC has also updated its guidance for protecting healthcare workers from seasonal flu.
The 2012-2013 seasonal flu vaccine will protect against the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season.

Pandemic flu remains a concern for employers and workers. A pandemic can occur at any time and can be mild, moderate, or severe. The pandemic flu in 2009 was considered by HHS/CDC to be mild but still created challenges for employers and workers and showed that many workplaces were not prepared. The precautions identified in the resources below give a baseline for infection controls during a seasonal flu outbreak, but may not be enough to protect workers during a pandemic. For additional information on pandemic flu planning, see the OSHA webpage on pandemic flu.

Final Rule Withdrawn, Re: Signage standards revised

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 213 (Monday, November 4, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 65932-65933]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-26337]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Parts 1910 and 1926

[Docket No. OSH-2013-0005]
RIN No. 1218-AC77

Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; 
Signage

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; withdrawal.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: With this notice, OSHA is withdrawing the proposed rule that 
accompanied its direct final rule revising its signage standards for 
general industry and construction.

DATES: Effective November 4, 2013, OSHA is withdrawing the proposed 
rule published June 13, 2013 (78 FR 35585).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
    General information and 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; email: meilinger.francis2@dol.gov.
    Technical information: Contact Ken Stevanus, Directorate of 
Standards and Guidance, Room N-3609, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 
200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 
693-2260; fax: (202) 693-1663; email: stevanus.ken@dol.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Copies of this Federal Register notice: Electronic copies of this 
Federal Register notice are available at http://www.regulations.gov. 
This Federal Register notice, as well as news releases and other 
relevant information, also is available at OSHA's Web page at http://www.osha.gov.
    Withdrawal of the proposal: On June 13, 2013, OSHA published a 
companion proposed rule (NPRM) along with the direct final rule (DFR) 
(see 78 FR 35585) updating its signage standards for general industry 
and construction. In the DFR, OSHA stated that it would withdraw the 
companion NPRM and confirm the effective date of the DFR if it received 
no significant adverse comments to the DFR by the close of the comment 
period, July 15, 2013. OSHA received eight favorable and no adverse 
comments on the DFR by that date (see ID: OSHA-2013-0005-0008 thru -
0015 in the docket for this rulemaking). Accordingly, OSHA is 
withdrawing the proposed rule. In addition, OSHA is publishing two 
separate Federal Register notices, one confirming the effective date of 
the DFR, and the other making minor, nonsubstantive additions and 
corrections to 29 CFR 1910.6, 1926.6, and 1926.200(b) and (c).

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Parts 1910 and 1926

    Signage, Occupational safety and health, Safety.

Authority and Signature

    David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for 
Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, authorized the 
preparation of this document. OSHA is issuing this document pursuant to 
29 U.S.C. 653, 655, and 657, 5 U.S.C. 553, Secretary of Labor's Order 
1-2012 (77 FR 3912), and 29 CFR part 1911.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on October 30, 2013.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2013-26337 Filed 11-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-26-P

News Release: OSHA extends comment period - silica rule

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OSHA Statement: 13-2081-NAT
Date: Oct. 25, 2013
Contact: Jesse Lawder
Phone: 202-693-4659
Email: lawder.jesse@dol.gov

OSHA extends comment period on proposed silica rule
to provide additional time for public input

WASHINGTON – The U.S Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is extending the public comment period for an additional 47 days on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica.

In response to requests for an extension, the deadline to submit written comments and testimony is being extended from Dec. 11, 2013, to Jan. 27, 2014, to allow stakeholders additional time to comment on the proposed rule and supporting analyses.

OSHA is also extending the deadline to submit notices of intention to appear at its informal public hearings by an additional 30 days, from Nov. 12, 2013, to Dec. 12, 2013. Public hearings are scheduled to begin on March 18, 2014. The duration of the hearings will be determined by the number of parties who request to appear. The hearings are expected to continue for several weeks.

The notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 12, 2013. The proposed rule was made available to the public on OSHA's website Aug. 23, 2013.

"We strongly encourage the public to assist in the process of developing a final rule by submitting written comments and participating in public hearings," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "We especially hope to hear from employers, workers and public health professionals who have experience in successfully protecting workers from silica-related diseases. We are extending the comment period to ensure we hear from all stakeholders who wish to participate."
The extended comment period and public hearings will be followed with a post-hearing comment period. Members of the public who filed a timely written notice of intention to appear will be able to submit post-hearing comments to the docket.

Additional information on the proposed rule, including five fact sheets and procedures for submitting written comments and participating in public hearings, is available at http://www.osha.gov/silica/. Members of the public may comment on the proposal by visiting http://www.regulations.gov.

Silica exposure an increased risk for lung cancer?

A newly published study of a large population of Chinese tin and pottery workers has found that exposure to airborne silica dust is associated with a significant increase in the risk of developing lung cancer. The study, printed in the American Journal of Epidemiology, measured cumulative silica exposure in a group of more than 30,000 workers over a 44-year period. These findings, which confirm that silica is a human carcinogen, are consistent with the preliminary risk assessment in OSHA's new proposed rule to protect workers from occupational exposure to crystalline silica, and have important implications for public health. Read more about the AJOE study here.

OSHA invites and strongly encourages the public to participate in the process of developing a final silica rule through written comments and participation in public hearings. You may read the notice of proposed rulemaking, by visiting https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-20997.

Fall Protection - walking/working along bridge decks

September 3, 2013

Dear Mr. F****:

Thank you for your letter dated April 5, 2013 to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In your letter you discussed safe guarding for employees required to work next to finished concrete barriers commonly used in highway construction. Most of these barriers are only 32 inches high. Employees could be exposed to falls of 6 feet or more when performing ancillary tasks, such as painting or removal of concrete curing material. You stated that the vast majority of Department of Transportation Contracts through the Federal Highway Administration have contract specifications that do not permit the use of systems such as anchorages for a personal fall protection system if there is a need to penetrate the surface of decks or barrier walls. While it's an accepted practice to use job-fabricated wooden built-up rail systems, you point out that this could entail tens of thousands of circular saw cuts. You contend that exposure to cuts and ergonomic considerations of these systems create greater hazards to employees than that of a fall exposures. Given your scenario we paraphrased above, you asked the following question:
Would the use of high visibility warning stripes placed on the decking during construction and subsequent use of permanent pavement markings in conjunction with training and enforcement meet the requirements for protection of workers having to walk and/or travel along decks between the offset markings when the edges are protected with a finished 32 inch high barrier wall?

Answer:
No. Using a 32" high concrete barrier to serve as a guardrail to protect employees doesn't comply with minimum top edge requirement of the guardrail system to be 42 inches high plus or minus 3 inches.

The fabricated plywood saddle system described in your letter is one of many systems that can be used. On May 10, 2013, we briefly discussed alternatives such as c-clamp guardrail systems that are easily transportable and available for rent. We also discussed OSHA's alternative uses of warning line systems meeting the requirements defined in 29 CFR 1926.502(f)(2) providing it's use maintains a "no entry" 15 foot setback from an edge or hole 6 feet or more above a lower level. You indicated that your employees would need to work within the 15 foot restriction and thus a warning line system would be infeasible. See the attached Letter of Interpretation. This letter can also be found on OSHA's website at the following link: http://www.oshainterpretations.com/1926_Safety_and_Health_Regulations_for_Construction/?url=/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS~p_id=24802&n=Fall%20protection%20non-conforming%20guardrail%20criteria%20for%20application%20of%20a%20de%20minimis%20policy.
Thank you for your interest on occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such development, you can consult OSHA's website at www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Directorate of Construction at 202 693-2020.

Safety Pays, but Falls Cost

OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign promotes ‘Planning,’ ‘Providing’ and ‘training’ to reduce the number one cause of death in construction

By Jim Maddux, director, OSHA Directorate of Construction

Falls account for one third of all work-related deaths in the construction industry. In 2010, there were 264 fall fatalities (255 falls to lower level) out of 774 total fatalities in construction. Of those deaths from falls, 90 were from roofs, 68 from ladders and 37 from scaffolds.

Many of the workers who are killed and injured on the job are temporary workers who perform the most dangerous jobs and often have limited English proficiency, and who don’t always get the training and equipment they need to do their jobs safely. As Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels has said, “All workers have the right to go home safe and sound at the end of the day, whether they’ve been on the job one day or 25 years.”

Worker injuries, illnesses and deaths don’t just hurt workers, families, co-workers and communities. They also take a great toll on our economy. Our nation’s largest provider of workers compensation data — the National Council on Compensation Insurance — found that from 2005 to 2007, 38 states reported that falls from elevations cost insured roofers $54 million per year. The average cost to an employer when a roofer falls from an elevation is about $106,000 per injured roofer – that’s enough to put a small roofing company
out of business.

OSHA campaigns for fall prevention

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 can be prevented and lives can be saved. Here’s how:
PLAN ahead to get the job done safely - When working at height, employers must plan projects to ensure the job is done safely. Begin by doing a risk assessment. This involves taking a close look at the jobsite, potential hazards and how they relate to the work being done. It’s important to decide how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and whatsafety equipment will 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. Think about all of the different fall hazards, and 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 them, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job whether it’s powered lifts, or scaffolds or ladders.

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 of lift equipment and fall protection systems.

OSHA offers numerous materials and resources that employers can use during toolbox talks to train workers on safe practices to avoid falls in construction. Falls can be prevented and lives can be saved through three simple steps: Plan, Provide and Train.

Top 10 OSHA Violations 2013 Released

At this year's National Safety Council Congress and Expo in Chicago, OSHA released its Top 10 OSHA Violations for fiscal year 2013 (October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013).

  1. Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501
  2. Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200)
  3. Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451)
  4. Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)
  5. Electrical - Wiring Methods (29 CFR 1910.305)
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178)
  7. Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053
  8. Control of Hazardous Energy - Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147)
  9. Electrical - General (29 CFR 1910.303)
  10. Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212)

New certificate program for public sector

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Sept. 26, 2013
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA launches new safety and health certificate program for
public sector employees

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today launched Public Sector Safety and Health Fundamentals, a new certificate program that provides public sector employees training on occupational safety and health to reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities among workers in state and local governments.

The certificate programs are available in construction and general industry. Students can choose from a variety of courses, including occupational safety and health standards for construction or general industry, safety and health management, accident investigation, fall hazard awareness and recordkeeping. To earn a certificate, participants must complete a minimum of seven courses, consisting of three required courses and additional elective courses, totaling at least 68 hours of in-class training.

OSHA has created a new Web page dedicated to this certificate program. The page provides course descriptions and prerequisites, program information and instructions on how to apply to the program.
The certificate program is administered by OSHA Training Institute Education Centers, which are non-profit organizations authorized by OSHA to deliver occupational safety and health training. All courses required to complete the program are available at OTI Education Centers nationwide. Students can use OSHA's searchable course schedule to find training courses for the certificate program at http://www.osha.gov/dte/ecd/course_otiec_search_public.html. Courses taken at different OTI Education Centers are transferrable and can count toward the certificate program.

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. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

Farm Safety Week

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OSHA News Release: 13-1921-NAT (234)
Sept. 16, 2013
Contact: Adriano Llosa      Jesse Lawder
Phone: 202-693-4686      202-693-4659
Email: llosa.adriano.t@dol.gov      lawder.jesse@dol.gov
 
US Labor Department's OSHA working with agriculture community
to promote safety education during Farm Safety Week, Sept. 15-22
Agriculture industry records highest fatality rates of any industry

WASHINGTON – The agriculture sector accounted for 475 deaths in 2012. With a fatality rate of 21.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, agriculture recorded the highest fatality rate of any industry sector. Additionally, 48,300 injuries were recorded in 2011, the last year for which statistics are available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This sector employs more than 2 million people in the United States.

Working Together for Safety in Agriculture - National Farm Safety and Health Week September 15-21, 2013The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is supporting the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety's National Farm Safety & Health Week, Sept. 15-21, by emphasizing the importance of worker safety in the agricultural industry. The theme for this year's National Farm Safety & Health Week is "Working Together for Safety in Agriculture."

"By working together to protect agricultural workers from job hazards and assuring that workers have the right to safety training, we can all make a positive impact on the lives of agricultural workers," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "OSHA has worked diligently with agri-businesses, farm agencies and communities in recent years to increase awareness of the hazards of confined spaces, farm equipment, grain handling and other hazards in the this industry in an effort to promote safety and health on America's farms."

Farm Safety and Health Week has been observed annually since 1944 during September as farmers prepare for harvest. The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety has posted informational safety and health materials on its website at www.necasag.org.

Farmworkers are at high risk for: fatal and nonfatal injuries, work-related lung diseases, heat exposure, noise-induced hearing loss, skin diseases and certain cancers associated with chemical use and prolonged sun exposure. OSHA has additional information available on its website regarding specific agricultural hazards located at https://www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/agriculturaloperations/index.html.

Additionally, record numbers of deaths and injuries in 2010 led OSHA to develop a Local Emphasis Program for Grain Handling Facilities, focusing on the grain and feed industry's six major hazards including: engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, "struck by," combustible dust explosions and electrocution hazards.
In 2010, at least 26 U.S. workers were killed in grain engulfments, the highest number on record. OSHA has published information related to common grain industry hazards and abatement methods, proper bin entry techniques, sweep auger use and many other grain related topics at www.osha.gov/SLTC/grainhandling/index.html. The Grain Bin LEP is used in 25 states.

The Grain Handling Safety Coalition can also provide all the necessary training materials to train farmers, commercial grain handling employees, youth, rescue workers and more for free or at a very reduced rate. There are five different safety topics available including an overview of grain handling and storage safety, grain bin entry as well as entanglement, fall and confined space hazards. GHSC also offers "Train the Trainer" courses for companies and communities to have a local resource for training. More information is available at www.grainsafety.org.

Information is also available on the employment of youths in agriculture at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/youth/agriculture/index.html.

Approximately one half of farmworkers are Hispanic. OSHA requires that employers conduct all required training of workers in a language and vocabulary workers can understand. OSHA's Spanish-language outreach resources, which detail how employers can work cooperatively with OSHA, are:
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742). 

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 exist for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Policy to improve workplace safety for aircraft cabin crew members

FAA issues policy to improve workplace safety for aircraft cabin crew members

Federal Aviation Administration emblem
The Federal Aviation Administration in coordination with OSHA has issued a final policy for improving workplace safety for aircraft cabin crewmembers (flight attendants). Under the new policy, OSHA will be able to enforce certain occupational safety and health standards currently not covered by FAA oversight, which are hazard communication, bloodborne pathogens and hearing conservation.
"This policy shows the strength of agencies working together and will enhance the safety of cabin crewmembers and passengers alike," said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "It is imperative that cabin crewmembers have the same level of safety assurances they provide the public."
The following is the FAA News Release:

Press Release – FAA Issues Policy to Improve Workplace Safety for Aircraft Cabin Crewmembers

For Immediate Release

August 22, 2013
Contact: Alison Duquette or Les Dorr
Phone: (202) 267-3883

WASHINGTON –The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), working with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), today issued a final policy for improving workplace safety for aircraft cabin crewmembers.
While the FAA's aviation safety regulations take precedence, OSHA will be able to enforce certain occupational safety and health standards currently not covered by FAA oversight.

“Safety is our number one priority – for both the traveling public and the dedicated men and women who work in the transportation industry,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “It’s important that cabin crewmembers on our nation’s airlines benefit from OSHA protections, including information about potential on-the-job hazards and other measures to keep them healthy and safe.”

“This policy shows the strength of agencies working together and will enhance the safety of cabin crewmembers and passengers alike,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.  “It is imperative that cabin crewmembers have the same level of safety assurances they provide the public.” 

Aircraft cabin safety issues that fall under OSHA standards include information on hazardous chemicals, exposure to blood-borne pathogens, and hearing conservation programs, as well as rules on record-keeping and access to employee exposure and medical records.  The FAA and OSHA will develop procedures to ensure that OSHA does not apply any requirements that could adversely affect aviation safety.

“Our cabin crewmembers contribute to the safe operation of every flight each day,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We’re taking an important step toward establishing procedures for resolving cabin crew workplace health and safety concerns.”

“We look forward to working with the FAA and through our alliance with the aviation industry and labor organizations to improve the safety of cabin crewmembers,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

Through the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Congress required the FAA to develop a policy statement to outline the circumstances in which OSHA requirements could apply to crewmembers while they are working onboard aircraft.

The policy will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. OSHA will conduct outreach and then begin enforcement activities after the first six months from the effective date.  The notice is available at http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/ashp/. 

Croda Inc - Excellent for worker safety and health!

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Region 3 News Release: 13-1780-PHI (osha 13-90)
Aug. 28, 2013
Contact: Joanna Hawkins      Leni Fortson
Phone: 215-861-5101      215-861-5102
Email: hawkins.joanna@dol.gov      uddyback-fortson.lenore@dol.gov
US Labor Department's OSHA certifies Croda Inc. facility in Mill Hall, Pa., as
'star' site for workplace safety and health

MILL HALL, Pa. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognized the employees and management of Croda Inc. for excellence concerning the company's employee safety and health program during a recent ceremony at the manufacturer's Mill Hall facility. The facility has been designated a "star," the highest honor in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs.

"Croda Inc. has demonstrated an outstanding ability to implement a comprehensive safety and health management system," said Mark Stelmack, director of OSHA's Area Office in Wilkes-Barre, who attended the ceremony. "This company is an example of an excellent workplace that values safety and health."

Croda Inc. earned VPP star recognition following a comprehensive on-site evaluation by a team of OSHA safety and health experts. The company employs 148 workers at the facility and 10 to 15 contract employees performing various duties, including security, maintenance, capital projects and janitorial services.

The VPP recognizes private and federal work sites with effective safety and health management systems that have maintained injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages. Management, labor and OSHA work cooperatively and proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries and illnesses through a system focused on hazard prevention and control, work site analysis and training. Union support is required for applicant work sites where employees are represented by a bargaining unit. Participating work sites are exempt from OSHA programmed inspections while they maintain their VPP status. For more information, contact OSHA's Wilkes-Barre Area Office at 570-826-6538 or visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/vpp/index.html.

Proposed rule for curbing silicosis

ate: August 23, 2013

STATEMENT OF
DR. DAVID MICHAELS
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR
US Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Crystalline Silica Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
August 23, 2013

Good afternoon. I am pleased to announce today that OSHA is issuing a proposed rule aimed at curbing silicosis—an incurable and progressive disease—lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in American workers. The proposal seeks to lower worker exposure to crystalline silica, a deadly dust which needlessly kills hundreds of workers and sickens thousands more each year.

This is a proposed rule and not a final rule. We are inviting and strongly encouraging the public to participate in the process of developing a final rule through submitting written comments and participating in public hearings that are scheduled to begin in Washington, DC in early March. Our process of obtaining public input will take many months, and we encourage and welcome the public to participate.

OSHA's objective is to develop a standard that not only protects workers, but also makes sense in the workplace. In this process, we especially hope to hear from workers and employers who have experience protecting workers from silica-related diseases.

Exposure to silica dust can be extremely hazardous, and limiting that exposure is essential. Every year, affected workers not only lose their ability to work, but also to breathe. OSHA estimates that the proposed rule will save nearly 700 lives per year and prevent 1,600 new cases of silicosis annually, once the full effects of the rule are realized.

Exposure to airborne silica dust occurs in operations involving cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block and other stone products and in operations using sand products, such as in glass manufacturing, foundries and sand blasting.

We know how to lower silica exposure. Today, many employers across the country apply common sense, inexpensive, and effective control measures that protect workers' lives and lungs—like keeping the material wet so dust doesn't become airborne, or using a vacuum to collect dust at the point where it is created before workers can inhale it. Tools that include these controls are readily available, and the rule is designed to give employers flexibility in selecting ways to meet the new standard.

This proposal is long overdue. OSHA's current standards for protecting workers from silica exposure are dangerously out-of-date and do not adequately protect worker health. The current standards are more than 40 years old, and they are based on research from the 1960's and even earlier. They do not reflect the most recent scientific evidence.

Since our current silica standards were issued in 1971, numerous studies have found increased risk of lung cancer among silica-exposed workers. The U.S. National Toxicology Program, the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have all identified respirable silica as a human carcinogen—a cause of lung cancer in workers exposed to the dust. This proposed rule brings worker protections into the 21st century.

The proposed rulemaking includes two separate standards—one for general industry and maritime employment, and one for construction. These standards are based on extensive review of scientific and technical evidence, consideration of current industry consensus standards, and outreach by OSHA to stakeholders, including public stakeholder meetings, conferences, and meetings with employer and employee organizations.

I am asking stakeholders to participate in this rulemaking effort, to help us develop effective solutions that will protect workers like Alan White, who has joined us today to talk about his experience as a silica-exposed foundry worker and how that exposure has affected his health and his life.

I now turn the call over to Alan White who will deliver a brief statement.
<Alan White Statement>
Thank you, Alan.
And we are also joined by Frank Hearl, Chief of Staff of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
<Frank Hearl Statement>
Thank you, Frank.

To provide the public with additional information about the proposal and ways to prevent silica-related disease, we have created a website which you can find by going to www.osha.gov/silica. The website includes five fact sheets that explain our proposals as well as the process for participating in the rulemaking. It also has a link to OSHA's new "Deadly Dust" video about the tragic effects of silicosis and the readily available methods to limit worker's exposure to silica.

To further demonstrate the historic commitment of the United States Department of Labor to preventing silicosis, we have also included a video entitled "Stop Silicosis," featuring a former Secretary of Labor—in this case Frances Perkins, who was President Franklin Roosevelt's Labor Secretary. The video was made in 1938.

It is seventy-five years since Frances Perkins committed the Department of Labor to ending silicosis in the United States. This proposal is an important step forward in fulfilling this commitment.

Thank you.

Heat illness prevention hits airwaves, app downloads exceed 100,000

OSHA is taking its Water-Rest-Shade message to the airwaves and using technology to help employers protect outdoor workers from heat illness. In cities like Philadelphia and Little Rock, OSHA staff are speaking on English- and Spanish-language radio and TV about heat illness and workers' rights to safe workplaces. 


The past few summers have shown that heat illness from high temperatures is one of the most serious challenges to the safety and health of workers throughout the nation. Since 2010, Arkansas has experienced at least two heat-related deaths per year and last year three heat-related fatalities in the state were reported to OSHA. Workers die from heat related illnesses every summer and every death is preventable. Every year, OSHA tries to get its heat-illness prevention message out before the start of higher temperatures to prevent these fatalities.

Carlos Reynolds, Area Director of OSHA's Little Rock Area Office, has been able to use local television and radio interviews to reach millions of workers exposed to heat in indoor and outdoor worksites. During the interviews, he highlights OSHA's Water/Rest/Shade message to protect from the hazards of working during the summer months, including heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

On May 29, 2013, Mr. Reynolds appeared on the KATV, Channel 7, noon news show. On June 18, 2013, Mr. Reynolds appeared on the KTHV, Channel 11, Morning News. On July 3, 2013, he was interviewed on the Clear Channel radio broadcast, 94.9 TOM with Tom Wood which was broadcast starting July 4, 2013, and rebroadcast each day through July 7, 2013. Both television shows have a viewer base of between 25,000 and 30,000 households and the Clear Channel radio broadcast reaches a weekly audience of 310,000 listeners with the expectation that 75-80 percent of that number will hear the interview broadcasts.

During his interviews, Mr. Reynolds told viewers and listeners how to obtain OSHA publications, including the informational booklet entitled "A Guide for Employers to Carry Out Heat Safety Training for Workers," and posters and QuickCards that detail how to avoid heat stress. He emphasized that by providing water, frequent breaks, and shade, an employer can take the appropriate steps to prevent heat stress illnesses. He also mentioned how OSHA is now using social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and the free OSHA Heat Tool App in an effort to provide more avenues for heightened public awareness of the hazards posed by working in high temperatures.

During the radio broadcast, Mr. Reynolds also discussed OSHA's ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign and the three major points of the campaign, Plan, Provide and Train. Since the broadcast was taped the day before the 4th of July, Mr. Reynolds also reviewed tips on how to safely handle fireworks.


Meanwhile, during four hot weeks in July, 18,661 people downloaded OSHA's heat safety app — bringing the total number of downloads to 103,530 since the app's launch two years ago. For more information and resources, visit National Safety Compliance

On-site Consultation Program

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Aug. 7, 2013
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA withdraws proposed rule to amend On-site Consultation Program

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced its decision to withdraw a proposed rule to amend its regulations for the federally-funded On-site Consultation Program. OSHA is withdrawing this rule based on stakeholder concerns that proposed changes, though relatively minor, would discourage employers from participating in the program.

"The On-site Consultation Program, including recognition through the Safety and Health Recognition Program, is a valuable way to assist small-business employers who are working to improve their workplaces," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "We remain committed to encouraging participation in this program."

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for 29 CFR 1908, Consultation Agreement, published Sept. 3, 2010, provided clarification of the length of the exemption period provided to "recognized" sites that have been removed from OSHA's programmed inspection schedule and the initiation of certain unprogrammed inspections at both sites that have achieved recognition and sites undergoing a consultation visit.
See the Federal Register notice on the withdrawal of proposed rule.

OSHA administers and provides federal funding for the On-site Consultation Program, which offers free and confidential safety and health advice to small- and medium-sized businesses across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. Employers who successfully complete a comprehensive on-site consultation visit, correct all hazards identified during the visit and implement an ongoing safety and health program to identify and correct workplace hazards may achieve status in OSHA's Safety and Health Recognition Program (SHARP). Exemplary employers who receive SHARP status receive an exemption from OSHA's programmed inspection schedule during a specified period.

Changes to Recordkeeping for Federal Agencies

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Aug. 2, 2013
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA announces changes to recordkeeping rule for federal agencies to
improve tracking of federal workplace injuries, illnesses

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a final rule that will require all federal agencies to submit their OSHA-required injury and illness data to the Bureau of Labor Statistics every year. This data will allow OSHA to analyze the injuries and illnesses that occur among the more than two million federal agency workers and develop training and inspection programs to respond to the hazards identified.

"This change provides OSHA an opportunity to collect injury and illness data from all federal agency establishments," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "The data will us help streamline and improve programs to reduce occupational hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and deaths within the federal workforce."

Other changes to the recordkeeping rule include amending the date when agencies must submit their annual reports to the secretary of labor and the date when the secretary must submit a report to the president. The rule will also restate that volunteers are considered employees of federal agencies and explain how volunteers' injuries should be recorded in agency injury and illness logs. The rule will clarify the definition of federal establishment and explain when contract employees should be included on an agency's log.
Collection of establishment level information will enable OSHA to develop programs to assist agencies in meeting their injury and illness targets under the Protecting Our Workers and Ensuring Reemployment initiative. The POWER Initiative, which covers fiscal years 2011 through 2014, was established by President Obama to extend prior federal government workplace safety and health efforts by setting aggressive performance targets, encouraging the collection and analysis of data on the causes and consequences of frequent or severe injury and illness and prioritizing safety and health management programs that have proven effective in the past.

Federal agencies have been required to follow the same recording and reporting requirements as the private sector since January 2005. Information on the final rule can be found in the Federal Register notice.
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. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

OSHA stand-down at work sites focus on fall prevention

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Region 4 News Release: 13-1480-ATL (200)
August 01, 2013
Contact: Michael D'Aquino    Lindsay Williams
Phone: 404-562-2076    404-562-2078
Email: d'aquino.michael@dol.gov    williams.lindsay.l@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA announces August 6 safety stand-down at
work sites throughout the Southeast to focus on fall prevention

ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with trade associations and employers throughout Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, will conduct a one-hour safety stand-down at construction sites and workplaces on Tuesday, Aug. 6. The stand-down supports OSHA's nationwide outreach campaign to raise awareness among employers and workers about the hazards of falls. Workers will voluntarily stop work from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. EDT to conduct safety training focused on the prevention of falls in the workplace.
In 2010, there were 264 fall fatalities out of 774 total fatalities in construction nationwide. When working from heights, such as ladders, scaffolds and roofs, employers must plan projects to ensure that the job is done safely. To protect workers, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds and safety gear. Workers need training to understand the proper setup and safe use of specific equipment they will use to complete the job. Falls can be prevented and lives can be saved through three simple steps: plan, provide and train.

"This stand-down is intended to raise awareness among employers and workers about common fall hazards in all industries, focusing on how falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented and lives can be saved," said Teresa Harrison, OSHA's acting regional administrator for the Southeast. "It is the employer's responsibility to protect workers from injury and illness."

OSHA has developed fall prevention educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as information to be used for workplace training. Additionally, OSHA invites the public to join in the effort by helping to reach workers and employers in local communities with the resources on fall prevention, developed by OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and National Occupational Research Agenda. 

These resources are available at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/index.html#plan.

You can register for the stand-down event at the Associated General Contractors of America Inc., Georgia branch's website at http://www.agcga.org/cs/safety_stand_down_program/safety_stand_down_on_fall_protection_august_6_2013. An informational flier and toolbox, in English and Spanish, are also available on the website.

Members of the public interested in more information about OSHA's fall prevention campaign, or to obtain copies of fall prevention-related publications, should contact their local OSHA office. To locate an OSHA office, visit http://www.osha.gov/html/RAmap.html.
New workers most at risk for heat-related illness: Employers should allow time for acclimation



OSHA is investigating two recent heat fatalities involving workers who were new to the job. In a recent call with meteorologists, Assistant Secretary Michaels emphasized that OSHA has found that, generally, the workers who are most at risk for heat-related illnesses are those who are new to outdoor jobs – especially temporary workers.
 
Seasonal workers can be considered new even if they have been working every season for several years. Gradually increasing the workload and giving workers time to acclimate allows them to build tolerance to the heat. This is critically important for workers who are new to working outdoors in the heat, who have been away from working in the heat for a week or more, or at the beginning of a heat wave. Once a worker is acclimated to heat, the risk is lower. Employers should take steps to protect workers and help them acclimate.

OSHA's Heat Safety Tool smartphone app can help users monitor dangerous heat levels throughout the summer. The app is available for iPhone and Android and has already been downloaded almost 85,000. Download the app and find additional resources on National Safety Compliance's Heat Stress page.

Construction sites stand down to prevent falls

OSHA's Chicago area offices partnered with the Builders Association, Construction Safety Council, the Chicago Area Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust, construction contractors and other safety and health organizations to sponsor safety stand down on June 12. At 70 construction sites across the Chicago area, 1,500 workers ceased work for about 30 minutes to receive focused training on how falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented by planning ahead and using the right safety equipment.

To learn more about OSHA's Fall Prevention campaign, visit www.osha.gov/stopfalls.

OSHA's alliance with the Shipyard Workers Union signed!

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Region 9 News Release: 13-1051-SAN (SF-90)
July 9, 2013
Contact: Deanne Amaden      Jose A. Carnevali
Phone: 415-625-2630      415-625-2631
Email: amaden.deanne@dol.gov      carnevali.jose@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA signs alliance with the Shipyard Workers
Union to inform, protect San Diego shipbuilding and industry workers

SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today forged an alliance with the Shipyard Workers Union to promote workplace safety and health, provide guidance and training programs for shipyard workers and raise awareness of hazardous operations onboard ships during building and repair periods.

Through the alliance, OSHA and the Shipyard Workers Union will work jointly to develop effective training and education programs for shipyard workers and OSHA personnel. The alliance will focus on emergency response, confined spaces onboard ships, respirator use and toxic metals.

"This alliance affirms our commitment to ensure that shipyard workers have a safe and healthy workplace," said Jay Vicory, director of OSHA's San Diego Area Office. "We have a tremendous opportunity here to prevent accidents and injuries and reduce hazards associated with work at shipyards."

The alliance was signed at the offices of the Shipyard Workers Union in San Diego by Vicory and Robert Godinez, the union's president.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with businesses, trade associations, unions, consulates, professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities.

More information about this alliance can be obtained from OSHA's area office for Southern California in San Diego at 619-557-5030.

OSHA and Canadian Health Dept sign memorandum

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June 19, 2013
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999
OSHA and Canadian health department sign Memorandum of Understanding
to align hazardous communication standards
WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch of the Department of Health of Canada. The MOU allows OSHA and HECS to collaborate on implementing the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling in their respective jurisdictions, as well as any future developments of the GHS.

"Today we live and work in a global en0619vironment with varying and sometimes conflicting national and international requirements," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Through GHS and now this MOU, OSHA and Health Canada have forged a relationship to jointly provide concise information to protect those exposed to hazardous chemicals."
During a ceremony today at U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C., Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health signed a partnership agreement with Suzy McDonald, director general, Workplace Hazardous Materials Directorate, HECS. Under the agreement, OSHA and HECS will establish a working group to reduce systematic barriers between the systems responsible for occupational safety and health of workplace chemicals and collaborate to reach common positions for the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS about proposed updates to the system, among other goals.

OSHA is participating in the US-Canada High Level Regulatory Coordination Council to improve regulatory cooperation and adopt compatible approaches to promote economic growth, job creation and benefits to consumers and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and coordination.
OSHA aligned its Hazard Communication Standard with the GHS in March 2012 to provide a common, understandable approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets. In the U.S., all employers with hazardous chemicals in the workplace must conduct new training for workers on the new label elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding. This training must be done by Dec. 1, 2013.

Further information for workers, employers and downstream users of hazardous chemicals can be reviewed at OSHA's Hazard Communication Web page at http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html, which includes links to OSHA's revised Hazard Communication Standard and guidance materials such as frequently asked questions and OSHA fact sheets and Quick Cards.

Crane safety focus of OSHA emphasis program in Northwest

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Region 10 News Release: 13-1047-SEA (SF-74)
June 10, 2013
Contact: Jose A. Carnevali
Phone: 415-625-2631
Email: carnevali.jose@dol.gov

Crane safety is focus of OSHA emphasis program in the Northwest
New program aims to curb maritime and construction fatalities

SEATTLE — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is launching a program aimed at reducing serious injuries and fatalities associated with the operation of cranes in construction, general industry and maritime operations for employers under federal OSHA jurisdiction in Idaho, Alaska, Washington and Oregon.

"We know that most of these injuries and fatalities are preventable with adequate training and proper attention to safety controls," said Dean Ikeda, regional administrator for OSHA's Region X, which is based in Seattle. "Our goal is to highlight the safety concerns and help employers and employees take steps to reduce the incidents related to crane operations. We want to improve safety for those working with or in the zone of danger where a crane is in use."

OSHA has investigated 13 fatal accidents involving cranes in the past five years in areas where the federal agency has jurisdiction in the four Northwestern states. The most common hazards leading to serious injuries and fatalities are crane tip-overs, being struck by a crane, electrocutions, being caught in between a crane and other equipment or objects, and falls from the equipment.

To help improve compliance and prevent injuries and deaths for those working on cranes, OSHA compliance officers will conduct inspections at ports, construction sites and other locations where cranes are in use. OSHA will also conduct outreach, training, on-site consultation and use partnerships, alliances, and participation in the Voluntary Protection Program in an effort to improve compliance and prevent serious injuries and fatalities. 

Federal OSHA's jurisdiction is shared with state-run safety and health programs in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Federal OSHA has full jurisdiction for safety and health in Idaho. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards should call OSHA's Region X office at 206-757-6700 or the Boise Area Office at 208-321-2960

Final rule to broaden exemption for digger derricks in regulations

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May 28, 2013
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999
OSHA issues final rule to broaden exemption for digger derricks in
its Cranes and Derricks standard
WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a final rule that broadens the current exemption for digger derricks used in the electric-utility industry. The exemption has been expanded to include telecommunications work in addition to electric-utility work. This final rule provides a complete exemption from having to follow the requirements of Subpart CC of the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard. The digger derricks exemption is part of the Cranes and Derricks final standard that was issued Aug. 9, 2010.

Digger derricks are pieces of equipment used to drill holes for utility poles. These digger derricks are commonly used by companies to place poles inside holes and attach transformers and other items to the poles.

OSHA published a direct final rule and a companion notice of proposed rulemaking on Nov. 9, 2012, and received a significant adverse comment on the direct final rule during the comment period. The agency then withdrew the direct final rule on Feb. 7, 2013. After considering the comment, OSHA is issuing this final rule based on the notice of proposed rule making.
The rule becomes effective June 28, 2013.

OSHA's current standard for Cranes and Derricks in Construction, promulgated in 2010 as 29 CFR part 1926 subpart CC, covers digger derricks, but includes a limited exemption for all pole work in the electric-utility and telecommunications industries, including placing utility poles in the ground and attaching transformers and other equipment to the poles (see 29 CFR 1400(c)(4); 75 FR 47906, 47924-47926, and 48136 (Aug. 9, 2010)). As explained in more detail in the preamble to the proposed rule, OSHA developed its 2010 standard through a negotiated rulemaking involving stakeholders from many affected sectors. In its proposed rule based on the draft standard from the stakeholders, OSHA included only a narrow exemption for digger derricks used to dig holes. OSHA later expanded the exemption in the 2010 final rule in response to commenters who complained that the proposed narrow exemption did not include customary uses of the digger derrick that involve placing a pole in the hole and attaching transformers and other items to the pole (see 75 FR 47906, 47924-47926, and 48136 (Aug. 9, 2010)).
In the current digger-derrick exemption to subpart CC, OSHA clarifies that employers engaged in exempted digger-derrick construction activities must still comply with the applicable worker protections in the OSHA standards governing electric-utility and telecommunications work at § 1910.268, Telecommunications, and § 1910.269, Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. Accordingly, exempt digger-derrick work subject to 29 CFR part 1926 subpart V—Power Transmission and Distribution, must comply with 29 CFR 1910.269, while digger derricks used in construction work for telecommunication service (as defined at 29 CFR 1910.268(s)(40)) must comply with 29 CFR 1910.268. When digger-derrick activities are exempt from subpart CC of 29 CFR part 1926, employers also must comply with all other applicable construction standards, such as 29 CFR part 1926 subpart O—Motor Vehicles, Mechanized Equipment, and Marine Operations, and subpart V. [1]
On October 6, 2010, Edison Electrical Institute (EEI) petitioned for review of the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. During subsequent discussions with OSHA, EEI provided new information to OSHA regarding the use of digger derricks in the electric-utility industry, and the impact on utilities' operations of the current digger-derrick exemption in subpart CC. According to EEI, the exemption from subpart CC covers roughly 95 percent of work conducted by digger derricks in the electric-utility industry (see OSHA-2012-0025-0004: EEI Dec. 7, 2010, letter, page 2). The majority of work under the remaining 5 percent is work closely related to the exempted work (Id.). For example, when electric utilities use digger derricks to perform construction work involving pole installations, the same digger-derrick crew that performs the pole work typically installs pad-mount transformers on the ground as part of the same power system as the poles. While the pole work is exempt under 29 CFR 1926.1400(c)(4), the placement of the pad-mount transformers on the ground is not.
On November 9, 2012, OSHA published a direct final rule and a companion proposed rule to broaden the digger-derrick exemption in subpart CC to exempt the placement of pad-mount transformers (77 FR 67313 and 67270 (Nov. 9, 2012)). In these documents, OSHA concluded that, compared to currently exempted pole work, most (if not all) of the remaining 5 percent of work is at least as safe (77 FR 67315 and 67272). Weight measurements provided by EEI demonstrate that transformers placed on a pad on the ground are roughly the same weight as, or in some cases lighter than, the weight of the transformers lifted onto the poles or the poles themselves (see OSHA-2012-0025-0003: EEI handout, “Typical Weights” chart). [2] In addition, OSHA explained that electric utilities typically place distribution transformers in a right of way along front property lines, close to a roadway, or along rear property lines, irrespective of whether the transformers are pole mounted or pad mounted (77 FR 67315 and 67272). In these cases, the lifting radius of a digger derrick placing a transformer on a pad is similar to the lifting radius of a digger derrick placing a transformer on a pole (Id.). Consequently, the lifting forces on a digger derrick should be approximately the same regardless of whether the transformer is pole mounted or pad mounted (see, e.g., OSHA-2012-0025-0003). Finally, OSHA noted that the approximate height of the transformer relative to the employee installing the transformer is the same for the two types of transformers (Id.). An employee installing a pad-mounted transformer is on the ground, near the pad, whereas an employee installing a pole-mounted transformer is either on the pole, or in an aerial lift, near the mounting point for the transformer. In either case, the transformer would be near the same height as the employee. OSHA received no comments challenging these statements.
OSHA also noted EEI's concerns about how the limited exemption failed to produce a significant economic savings for the electric-utility industry. Because the same workers generally perform both types of work, utility employers would, when the standard becomes fully effective in November 2014, incur the cost of meeting all of the other requirements in subpart CC, including the operator-certification requirements, for those workers who perform the 5 percent of work not currently exempted from subpart CC. OSHA noted that compliance with the entire standard could result in a sizable cost to the electric-utility industry (about $21.6 million annually) for an activity that does not appear significantly more dangerous than the type of activity that OSHA already exempts, and that OSHA did not consider this result when it promulgated the 2010 standard (77 FR 67315 and 67272) (see Section IV.B. in this preamble for a summary of these costs). OSHA did not receive any comments disputing this economic impact.
OSHA also notes that the largest labor organization for workers in the electric-utility industry, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, participated in the settlement discussions and corroborated the general validity of the information provided by EEI, actively supported EEI's request for an expanded digger-derrick exemption, and did not submit any objections to the proposed expansion of the digger-derrick exemption.

OSHA - meeting of the Federal Advisory Council

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May 23, 2013
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

US Department of Labor's OSHA to hold meeting of the Federal Advisory
Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH)
4 new members appointed and 3 members re-appointed
 
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration will hold a meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health June 6, 2013, in Washington, D.C.

FACOSH advises the Secretary of Labor on all matters relating to the occupational safety and health of federal employees. This includes providing advice on how to reduce the number of injuries and illnesses in the federal workforce and how to encourage each federal executive branch department and agency to establish and maintain effective occupational safety and health programs.

The tentative agenda includes a discussion on an OPM status report regarding changes to the GS-0018, Safety and Occupational Health Management job series and updates from FACOSH subcommittees.
FACOSH will meet from 1 - 4:30 p.m. EST in Rooms S-4215 A-C, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20210. The meeting is open to the public. Those interested in submitting comments or requests to speak can do so electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for details. Comments and requests to speak must be submitted by May 23, 2013.

Newly appointed members who serve as representatives of management are Dr. Joe Hoagland, Tennessee Valley Authority, Dr. Gregory Parham, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Lola Ward, National Transportation Safety Board. Additionally, Irma Westmoreland, National Nurses United, has been appointed as the committee's new labor representative.

Members re-appointed for additional terms include labor representatives William Dougan, National Federation of Federal Employees and Deborah Kleinberg, Seafarers International Union/National Maritime Union. Curtis Bowling, U.S. Department of Defense, has been re-appointed as a management representative.

Under Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and Executive Order 12196, the head of each agency is responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for all federal employees by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

OSHA Offers training to Federal agencies on worker safety and health

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May 21, 2013
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999
OSHA offers training to federal agencies on worker safety and health

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has scheduled a three-day training event for federal agency staff responsible for keeping federal workers safe and healthy on the job.
The OSHA Training Institute, in collaboration with OSHA's Office of Federal Agency Programs, will conduct a series of half-day seminars that discuss potential hazards, such as distracted driving, ergonomics, confined spaces, hearing conservation and fall protection. OSHA developed this training event to ensure that federal workplaces have safety programs and standards consistent with those in the private sector.
The event will be held July 30 - Aug. 1, 2013, at the OSHA Training Institute, 2020 South Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, Ill. Registration will remain open until July 23, 2013. Students can access registration forms, course descriptions, and other details at www.osha.gov/dep/fap/fedweek_fy13.html. Completed registration forms must be emailed to OTI Student Services at oti.registration@dol.gov.
Government agency personnel will not be charged tuition or fees to attend the training courses. However, Department of Labor regulations require OSHA to charge tuition to private sector attendees and federal government contractors.
OTI provides training and education in occupational safety and health for federal and state compliance officers, state consultants, other federal agency personnel and the private sector. For more information on OTI, visit OSHA's Directorate of Training and Education Web page. The basic mission of OSHA's Office of Federal Agency Programs is to ensure that each federal agency is provided with the guidance necessary to implement an effective occupational safety and health program within the agency and to inform them on the progress being made through detailed evaluations, reports and studies of agencies' occupational safety and health programs.