✱ Contract with Facility Support Services to assure your environmental and safety procedures are current with 2018 regulations.
10/16/18 NIOSH Factsheet – Opioid overdoses at work
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 2017 data shows 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Bureau of Labor Statistics found overdose deaths at work from non-medical drugs and alcohol increased 38 percent each year between 2013 – 2016.
An Opioid Factsheet issued by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) helps employer consider if implementing “Naloxone”, a drug that reverses many of the life-threating overdose effects and ultimately save lives is worth considering.
10/15/18 EPA directed to look at changes to Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market
The White House has directed EPA to initiate rulemaking changes for the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market:
- Prohibiting entities other than obligated parties from purchasing separate RINs
- Requiring public disclosure when RIN holdings exceed specified limits
- Limit the length of time a non-obligated party can hold RINs
- Not allowing RINs to be used for the purpose of compliance
- Expand fuel waivers for gasoline that contains ethanol
10/10/18 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – workers at highest risk
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) was found to be most common in female workers and worker conducted within the apparel manufacturing, food processing, and administrative industries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified these high-risk occupations based on data from the California workers’ compensation claims sorted by industry.
CTS is caused by a compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway on the palm side of the wrist. This compression results in pain, tingling, weakness, or numbness in the hand or the wrist. Occupational risk factors include engaging in work activities that require forceful, repetitive tasks, prolonged use of the hands or wrists in an awkward posture, or vibration. The CDC report recommends implementing intervention measures, including ergonomic evaluations and development of tools and instruments that require less repetition and force and correct awkward postures.
10/08/18 Employee exposure to Ammonium – OSHA responds
OSHA launched a new program on October 1 in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas to address hazards from exposure to Ammonia more specifically Fertilizer-Grade Ammonium Nitrate (FGAN) and agricultural Anhydrous Ammonium.
Personal worker exposure to all type of Ammonia beyond specified exposure limits is a hazard that can lead to serious injury, illness and death, including fire and explosions, as well as exposure to toxic gases and hazardous chemicals. OSHA is offering a three-month education and prevention period, then after September 30, 2019 enforcement activities will begin within these states. Similar hazards in other states should be considered and addressed per OSHA recommendations.
10/05/18 NIOSH is against OSHA’s proposal to roll back e-reporting
OSHA wants to remove the requirement for employers with 250 or more employees from having to submit electronic reporting (e-report) of their 300 & 301 Incidents of Injuries and Fatalities. NIOSH has carefully reviewed the proposed changes which would track trends of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses and outlined their concerns in the lack of this important data reporting below:
- It would provide unfiltered real-world occupational injury, illness, fatality information
- It would allow trends to be seen in the relation of minor and major injuries to how they occurred
- Electronic data analysis can lead to finding the source of the problem, fixes, and recommended methods or practices to avoid or prevent possible injury, illness or fatalities
- Data is similar to workers’ compensation claim data, and therefore can be used for occupational health surveillance and prevention
- National Academies Smart Surveillance & NIOSH supports both support the collection of this data
10/05/18 Fatal crashes up 9% for large trucks in 2017
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released results of the 2017 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) traffic report found large truck (10,000lbs or over) crashes were responsible for 4,761 deaths, largest trucks (over 26,000lbs) up 3.8 percent and over 40 percent of these fatalities involved occupants who were not wearing seat belts.
10/04/18 Chemical facilities – CSB bulletin offers safety guidance in cold weather
U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) released safety information on when and how to prepare equipment and instrumentation for cold weather. Ineffective freeze protection practices were found to be the cause on three (3) recent incident investigations and from these investigations.
- Establish written winterization programs within a company implemented plan
- Identify and properly winterize equipment that is susceptible to ice or hydrate formation in cold weather, through process hazard analyses, management of change (MOC) evaluations, pre-startup safety reviews, and operating procedures
10/03/18 Trenching & Excavation – OSHA Compliance directive has changed this year
All OSHA offices across the nation are implementing an outreach program on the latest updated methods for trenching and excavation inspections which supersedes the prior OSHA 1985 CPL 02-00-069 methods.
The OSHA National Emphasis Program (NEP) goal is to identify and reduce hazards which are likely to cause serious injuries and fatalities during trenching and excavation. OSHA will target its informative efforts towards employers, industry associations, equipment rental organizations, water works supply companies, plumbing companies, and permitting and municipal organizations.
10/02/18 Businesses with Chemicals required to be reported to TSCA – must pay fee per 2018 Final Rule
Chemical manufacturers as of October 1, 2018 will need to pay adjusted fees per EPA’s new Final Rule under Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act in conjunction with Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Businesses that report chemicals that meet the TSCA section 4 to 6, will be subject to annual fees of approximately: $7,000 (section 4); $339,000 (section 5); and $926,000 (section 6).
These collected fees will be used to determine the safety or hazard of each new chemical before they enter the marketplace, develop risk evaluations on existing chemicals; allow for collection and review of both toxicity and exposure data; and maintain Confidential Business Information (CBI).
✱ Contract with Facility Support Services to assure your environmental and safety procedures are current with 2018 regulations.
9/27/18 OSHA requires “Authorized Trainers” – rise in reported fraudulent trainers and courses
OSHA 10 Hour & 30 Hour training for all General Industry, Construction, & Marine Industries require:
- Only OSHA “authorized” trainers may teach 10- and 30-hour General Industry, Construction, & Marine Industry safety courses and only they can issue OSHA student course completion cards.
- OSHA publishes a list of authorized trainers to help find legitimate training and avoid misinformation.
- OSHA requires workers that encounter certain workplace hazards to have authorized training that is topic specific, even if they do not require 10 & 30 hour full course training. Requirements depend purely on the workers tasks, exposures and position.
OSHA asks the public to report to the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General any fraudulent activity.
9/25/18 EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard website – updated
Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program in 2005 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector. EPA updated its RFS program website to increase transparency surrounding the program and make the public aware of current efforts. The site includes new data and information for renewable fuel producers, fuel refiners, and importers.
9/24/18 OSHA introduces – Trench safety video
OSHA’s new trench safety video titled “Five Things You Should Know to Stay Safe in a Trench,” advises how to eliminate hazards and prevent worker injuries.
- Always inspection the trench before anyone enters or works in or around the trench
- Ensure there is a safe way to enter and exit the trench
- Ensure the trench has cave-in protection
- Keep materials away from the edge of the trench
- Look for other hazards that can affect the trench
9/20/18 EPA releases web tool on industry environmental, economic performance
9/20/18 National Heat Stress petition issued to OSHA
A petition with more than 60,000 signatures asks OSHA to establish a nationally accepted standard to protect workers exposed to extreme heat in either outdoor or indoor environments.
In July 2018 over 130 organizations had also requested OSHA implement a national heat protection standard. This recent petition was created by four (4) organizations to reinforce the prior petition and pressure OSHA to getting it done this year.
9/19/18 Dept of Labor claims OSHA mishandling new injury report requirements
An audit conducted by the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) concluded that OSHA needs to improve its fatality and severe injury reporting program. Their results found an approximate 50% decrease in unreported injuries, illnesses and fatalities based on prior years reporting averages. OIG recommended that OSHA provide better guidance documentation and awareness to better inform companies on reporting changes, correct companies that do not reporting properly, issue citations as appropriate, and inspect and assure companies correct the root cause of an injury or fatality that have occurred in order to better protect workers.
9/18/18 OSHA updates Trench Safety Quick Card
Fatalities by trench cave-ins in 2016 was nearly double the average of the previous five (5) years. The OSHA standard requirements include daily inspections of all trenches with any corrections to trenches to be done only by a competent person, before employees begin work/excavation in or around a trench.
OSHA’s three-pronged approach to trench safety:
- Slope it -Slope or bench trench walls by cutting back the trench wall at an angle inclined away from the excavation.
- Shore it – Shore trench walls with supports.
- Shield it – Shield trench walls by using trench boxes or other types of supports to prevent cave-ins.
9/17/18 Respirator requirements – changes stance on facial hair
9/13/18 Agency that reviews OSHA citations proposes to update procedural rules
The comment period opened on September 7, 2018 and closes on October 9, 2018.
9/10/18 Investigation near conclusion on Gas Well Fire that killed 5 people
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) investigation determined the large fire at an Oklahoma gas well on January 22, 2018, occurred shortly after drilling crew members removed the drill pipe from the well, in a process known as “tripping”. The data points to an influx of mud and gas from the well which causing it to ignite into a large fire. A final report and conclusion will be issued soon.
9/07/18 Legionnaires’ Disease – 6,000 cases reported annually per OSHA
9/06/18 Respirators – hazardous in oxygen-deficient areas
9/05/18 Back injuries – 40% of work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD)
9/04/18 Is your company prepared for an Emergency or Nature Disaster?
Every September the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) urges the public to plan for emergencies and disasters and emphasizes to prioritize efforts. They recommend starting with an emergency communications plan, installing carbon monoxide detectors, reviewing insurance coverage for floods, earthquakes, tornados, and saving money in an emergency fund.
✱ Contract with Facility Support Services to assure your environmental and safety procedures are current with 2018 regulations.
8/27/18 Worker exposure to Lead – NIOSH requests evaluation
Lead can be significantly detrimental to workers health when exposed to even small amounts of Lead through inhalation (micro dust), ingestion (dust particles or chips settled on hands/food), or penetration of the open skin. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is requesting scientific data to be gathered and analyzed on the potential health risks of lead in work environments as well as determine measures for safe handling of lead and to establish Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for workers.
Industries where Lead is more common:
- smelting and refining
- firing ranges
- automobile repair
- electronic waste recycling
- and metal recycling
8/22/18 URC Annual fee reductions – proposed
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing fee reductions to the United Carrier Registration (UCR) registration fees for 2019, 2020, and beyond.
The proposed 2019 registration would be a 17.59 percent reduction and 2020 registration will be a 9.5 percent reduction.
Number of Commercial Motor Vehicles
Current Fees per entity
2019 Proposed Fees per entity
2020 Proposed Fees per entity
8/22/18 CSB and ACS advocate laboratory safety in the classroom
- Do not use bulk containers of flammable chemicals in demonstrations.
- Implement strict safety controls when handling hazardous chemicals: which include written procedures, effective training, and appropriate personal protective equipment for all participants.
- Conduct a comprehensive hazard review prior to performing any demonstrations.
- Provide a safety barrier between the demonstration and the audience.
8/21/18 EPA must implement Risk Management Program for Emergency Responders
The United States Court overruled last years’ Executive Order to delay the Risk Management Program (RMP) final rule. The RMP rule was put in place after emergency responders and public were in danger unnecessarily during multiple explosions at the West Fertilizer Plant of Texas which killed 15 people and injured over 180 people. EPA is now required to put the RMP’s rule in effect that mandates businesses/facilities to share (via secure portals) significant hazardous chemical storage on properties with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and authorized local emergency authorities (fire departments). The goal is to best protect the public and first responders (fire, police, ambulance staff) in an emergency, by knowing ahead of time all the possible hazards they will need to contend with at the scene.
8/17/18 OSHA helpful resources for new Silica Dust requirements
OSHA’s has created Video, FAQs and Presentation on the topic of Silica Dust topic to inform and protect workers while helping employers meet the Respirable Silica requirements.
- Video – 5 minute video on how to protect workers from exposure to silica dust.
- Video – short videos on proper use of dust control for 6 common construction tasks such as: masonry saws, handheld saws, jackhammers or handheld chipping tools, and handheld grinders for mortar removal (tuckpointing) and other uses.
- FAQ (frequently asked questions) – on Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction
- Presentation – train construction workers on respirable crystalline silica, workplace protections, medical surveillance and employer recordkeeping.
8/13/18 Washington State plans to unify Fall Protection rule
8/09/18 OSHA extends only portions of Beryllium rule
8/06/18 EPA and DOT propose new car and truck fuel standards for 2021-2016
The EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are proposing safer and more fuel efficiency standards for new 2021-2026 Cars and Light Trucks, within a rule called The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule. EPA claims the original standards Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions standards for 2020-2025, were vaguely described as inappropriate and need be revised.
8/02/18 Work injuries – show higher rate of non-fatal falls at lower height
7/12/18 Oregon adopts new Pesticide Protections for human health and safety
Oregon OSHA announced it has adopted rules to increase protections against pesticide drift during outdoor spraying beyond federal requirements and goes into effect January 1, 2019.
While pesticide drift outside a treated area is already illegal, Oregon OSHA added safeguards to reduce incidents of unsafe pesticide exposure among farm workers/families in worker housing as well as pesticide handlers in farm structures.
Other aspects of Oregon OSHA’s rules that exceed EPA’s rules include:
- For pesticides that require applicators to use respirators, the AEZ expands to 150 feet – 50 feet more than the EPA rule. People must stay out of the zone for an additional 15 minutes. There is no option to stay indoors.
- For all pesticide applications, doors and windows must be shut, and air intakes must be turned off before people evacuate or remain inside an enclosed agricultural structure. During evacuation, the EPA rule does not include such requirements.
- Closeable storage areas for shoes or boots must be provided to prevent tracking of pesticides into worker housing. The EPA rule includes no such requirements.
- Employers must adhere to notification and instruction requirements, including informing people of the start and stop times of pesticide spray, and providing them with instructions to close windows, doors, and air intakes. The EPA rule includes no such provisions.
- Oregon OSHA says its new rules complement and complete EPA’s revisions to the Worker Protection Standard. These revisions affected areas such as worker notifications, training frequency, and trainer qualifications.
7/11/18 EPA ‘s new Administrator is Andrew Wheeler
On July 5, 2018, Scott Pruitt resigned from his position as EPA Administrator and President Trump announced Andrew Wheeler to be the new Administrator to the EPA. Wheeler has served as a lobbyist and lawyer for major Coal manufacture (Murray Energy) from 2009-2018 under the law office of Faegre, Baker, Daniel and only recently in April 12, 2018 was appointed to EPA as Deputy Administrator. He has worked in Washington for over 20 years using his law background to consistently advance the interests of the fossil-fuel industry and weaken or delay any federal regulation proposed for cleaner air or water.
7/10/18 Workers require protection from Heat related Stress/Illnesses/Stroke/Death
OSHA and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) now offer a “Protecting Workers from Heat Illness” infosheet now in an EPUB format useable on cell phones, tablets, computers and e-readers.
Heat stress occurs when the body is unable to maintain a normal temperature in the heat, which can cause illnesses and even death.
Heat stroke, the most serious heat-related illness, is a life-threatening which requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures, high body temperature, and hot, dry skin or profuse sweating.
Heat exhaustion is also a serious condition requiring a clinic or emergency room for evaluation and treatment. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, heavy sweating, and elevated body temperature. Other, less severe, heat-related medical illnesses include heat cramps and heat rash.
Risk factors include:
- High temperatures and humidity,
- Direct sun exposure,
- Limited air movement,
- Not drinking enough fluids,
- Physical exertion,
- Heavy personal protective clothing and equipment,
- Poor physical conditioning or medical conditions,
- Certain medications,
- Lack of acclimatizing,
- Previous heat-related illness,
- Being 55 years of age and older, and
- Indoor exposures to other sources of radiant heat.
- Heat-related illnesses
7/06/18 New OSHA bulletins specify requirements for Respiratory and Hearing Protection for Temporary Workers
OSHA released two new bulletins for Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI) to address the responsibility of both the temporary employer and the staffing agency in providing personal protective equipment (specifically respiratory protection and hearing protection) in compliance with safety and health regulations to temporary workers.
- Respiratory Protection regulations says temporary workers must be protected in accordance with OSHA standards compliance standards are 29 CFR 1910.134 for general industry; 1926.103 for construction; and 1915.154, 1917.92, and 1918.102 for marine.
- Noise Exposure and Hearing Conservation says temporary workers must be protected in accordance with OSHA standards 29 CFR 1910.95 for general industry and 29 CFR 1926.52 for construction.
Implementing proper safety must be done before the temporary employees begins work, but neither employer can avoid their ultimate responsibilities under the OSH Act. Both the staffing agency and employer should consider confirming in writing the specific responsibilities of each in both communicating and implementing safety for the worker.
7/05/18 e-Manifest data submissions changed last minute, due to national security risks
A “Management Alert” was called by the EPA to reevaluation of the e-Manifest system’s security, warning that a breach of hazardous material information could facilitate terrorist or other criminal activities.
So, for now, manifests that contain Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chemicals of interest (certain acute hazardous wastes that have P or U codes) must be mailed to the EPA and cannot be submitted to the e-Manifest system. A list of these specific waste codes is located on EPA’s e-Manifest development website, search “COI P U waste codes” in the CSV or PDF format.
EPA said it is also reevaluating whether additional security measures are necessary for a “small subset of manifest data about certain acute hazardous wastes.”
7/05/18 OSHA confirms effective date for Beryllium Standard for General Industry
OSHA confirmed the effective date of the Direct Final Rule (DFR) that amended the application of the Beryllium Standard for general industry to materials containing trace amounts of beryllium. OSHA did not receive adverse comments on the DFR by the deadline of June 6, 2018, the rule becomes effective on July 6, 2018.
The rule clarifies the following:
- Definitions of “beryllium work area,” “emergency,” “dermal contact,” and “beryllium contamination”;
- Provisions for disposal and recycling; and
- Provisions that the Agency intends to apply only where skin can be exposed to materials containing at least 0.1 percent beryllium by weight.
7/02/18 U.S. Chemical Safety Board offers a Safety Digest for equipment startups, shutdowns, and other infrequent events
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) recently published a Safety Digest to address the hazards of startups and shutdowns events which are non-routine procedures that take equipment from an idle state to an operational state. The Center for Chemical Process Safety data shows that incidents (explosion/fire/etc.) and accidents occur five times more often during startups than during normal operations. A 2010 study of U.S. refineries found 50 percent of the incidents occur during startups, shutdowns, and other infrequent events.
The Safety Digest wants facilities to use effective communication, provide workers with appropriate training, and develop strong and up-to-date policies and procedures for startups and shutdowns.
✱ Contract with Facility Support Services to assure your environmental and safety procedures are current with 2018 regulations.
6/30/18 e-Manifest final user fees announced, just in time for system launch
As of June 30, 2018, EPA must receive completed manifests for inclusion in a public database. The final EPA monthly user fees till September 30, 2019 for electronic and paper manifests are as listed below, which are different than earlier estimates.
Manifest submission type
Fee per manifest
Mailed in paper manifest
Scanned image upload
Data + image upload
Electronic (fully electronic & hybrid)
EPA created easy reference fact sheets for e-Manifest found on the EPA website.
6/29/18 OSHA aims to protect workers/users from Lead at indoor firing ranges
A new OSHA Fact Sheet provides firing range employers with information on how they can protect their workers from unsafe blood-lead levels that poisoning can result in organ damage and a variety of health problems. OSHA’s Lead Standard requires an initial determination of worker/personal airborne exposure to lead. Additional requirements apply if the exposure to lead at or above the action level (AL) or the permissible exposure limit (PEL).
The regulations at 29 CFR 1910.1025 require exposure monitoring; effective housekeeping; respiratory protection for workers with exposures at or above the PEL; protective work clothing and equipment for exposed employees; hygiene facilities and practices; medical surveillance and medical removal protection; and employee lead hazard training and hazard communication.
Lead exposures occur in the following cases:
- Shooting firearms with lead bullets or lead-containing primer creates airborne lead in the gun smoke;
- Lead bullet deformation and fragmentation can cause exposure at hard surface bullet trap systems;
- The building’s standard ventilation system may not adequately remove airborne lead particles from the range;
- Handling used cartridges or cleaning firearms can contaminate the hands and skin with lead;
- Improper range cleaning methods (e.g., dry sweeping, compressed air, and non-high-efficiency particulate air filtered vacuums) or inadequate cleaning of lead-contaminated surfaces;
- Recovering lead bullets from traps, emptying bullet trays, or casting lead bullets can create lead dust and fumes;
- Bringing food and drinks into the range area or not washing hands and face before eating, drinking, or smoking after using the range;
- Not having access to handwashing facilities for workers to remove lead; and
- Wearing contaminated clothes in eating areas or wearing these clothes home.
The exposure controls for firing ranges that OSHA recommends in the fact sheet include:
- Eliminate or substitute: Use jacketed or lead-free bullets and non-lead primer.
- Engineering controls: Provide a separate “push/pull” ventilation system (not connected to the general HVAC system) with supplied and exhausted air flow designed to move lead emissions downrange toward the filtered exhaust area at or behind the bullet trap.
- Work practice controls: Use a closed bag system to empty bullet trays and debris. Use a water mist spray or other type of wet method to keep lead dust from becoming airborne.
6/28/18 Last reminder for covered employers to submit 300A OSHA Summary Data
OSHA reminded employers about the July 1, 2018, deadline for submitting 2017 Form 300A data to the Agency.
Electronic submissions are required for establishments that already track OSHA workplace injuries and illnesses and meet the following:
- The establishment has 250 or more employees; or
- The establishment has 20-249 employees and is listed in Appendix A to Subpart E as a high-risk industry.
Beginning in 2019 and every year after that, the submission deadline moves to March 2, 2019.
6/27/18 Part of Beryllium Standard enforcement delayed to August 9, 2018
A June 21, 2018, memorandum from OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement, explains delays for some limited provisions in the Beryllium Standards from June 1, 2018 to August 9, 2018. The extension applies to all processes, operations, or areas where workers may be exposed to materials containing beryllium that fall under the scope of the general industry standard.
The proposal would not extend and continue to enforce, the compliance date for the permissible exposure limits (PELs) paragraphs (d), (g), (k) and (l) (exposure assessment, respiratory protection, medical surveillance, or medical removal protection provisions) or for any provisions for which the standard already establishes compliance dates for all 3 industries (listed below).
OSHA is enforcing the PELS
OSHA is currently enforcing the Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) in the following industries:
- General Industry at §1910.1024(c) – exposure assessment §1910.1024(d), respiratory protection §1910.1024(g), medical surveillance §1910.1024(k), and medical removal §1910.1024(l).
- Construction §1926.1124(c)
- Marine/Shipyard standards §1915.1024(c)
6/26/18 EPA lowers the permissible Lead Dust Levels based on health hazards evidence at lower levels than current standard
Scientific evidence has emerged to indicate that Lead even in smaller amounts (blood lead levels) effect people’s health more than originally determined. Because of this the EPA has released a proposal to lower the dust-lead hazard standards for lead dust that is generated from use and renovations/repairs to floors and window sills to help better protect people and especially children from becoming Lead poisoned.
Lead exposure can damage the brain and other developing organs. Young children under the age of 6 years old are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of lead to their growing nervous systems.
6/25/18 EPA decides to take no further action on Hazardous Substances Spill Prevention
EPA’s Scott Pruitt signed a proposed action to not add any new regulatory requirements to the spill prevention of discharges of facilities stored hazardous substances under Clean Water Act (CWA) section 311. The Agency said, “EPA is proposing to conclude that additional regulatory requirements for CWA hazardous substances are unnecessary and would impose undue burden on approximately 100,000 facilities in the U.S. already subject to the existing framework. Currently, EPA believes that analysis of these outreach efforts and data tallying the frequency and impact of reported discharges demonstrate that the existing framework prevents hazardous spills and other adverse outcomes.”
6/21/18 EPA gives receiving facilities extra time to submit paper Manifests
EPA’s electronic hazardous waste manifest system (e-Manifest) launches on June 30, 2018. On that date, several changes take effect for hazardous waste generators, transporters, and receiving facilities.
After June 30, users will have a choice between 3 types of manifests:
- Paper-only: The generator, transporter(s) and receiving facility all sign on paper. EPA is replacing the current 6-ply manifest with a 5-ply form. Generators may continue to use the 6-ply form after June 30 but should make sure the outdated form is routed correctly. EPA encourages transitioning to the new 5-ply form as soon as possible.
- Electronic: The manifest is created and signed electronically by all users.
- Hybrid: The manifest begins as a paper copy signed by the generator. It is then signed electronically by the transporters and receiving facility. The transporter initiates this option.
Beginning June 30, 2018, facilities that receive hazardous waste must submit completed manifests to federal EPA for inclusion in a new, public-facing database. The receiving facility has up to 30 days to submit paper manifests but must submit electronic manifests as soon as they are signed.
However, in a June 19 webinar titled What receiving facilities need to know, EPA announced it would grant receiving facilities extra time to make their first submission of paper manifests. For manifests received between June 30, 2018, and September 1, 2018, the submission may be deferred until no later than September 30, 2018. EPA says this gives facilities up to an additional 60 days to complete their integration work as the new electronic manifest system comes online.
Completed paper manifests may be sent to EPA through the mail (EPA has not yet posted a mailing address) or by scanned image. Electronic or hybrid manifests may be submitted in the e-Manifest system or through an API.
EPA will assess a fee for each manifest submitted by the receiving facility, with paper manifests costing more than the electronic versions. Fees will be charged on the first of the month for manifests submitted during the previous month. EPA expects receiving facilities will pass these costs on to their customers.
Receiving facilities must register with the e-Manifest system and EPA recommends registering at least two site managers with the system.
Hazardous waste generators
Hazardous waste generators will have the option of using electronic manifests to ship and track their waste. To use this option, generators must have an EPA ID number and register for the e-Manifest. Wastes that must be manifested under the e-Manifest system are:
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous wastes,
- Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) wastes covered under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA),
- State-only waste if the state requires it to be manifested, and
- Imports of hazardous waste shipped to U.S. facilities.
Generators may continue to use paper manifests if they choose but will need to decide with the receiving facility to have a signed copy of the manifest returned to them for recordkeeping purposes. Note that generators will not be able to view the manifest in EPA’s database or make corrections unless they register.
Hazardous waste transporters
Transporters of hazardous waste who opt in to the e-Manifest system must register with e-Manifest to sign electronic manifests. To use the system, a transporter must have access to a tablet or cell phone and access to WiFi at both the generator site and the receiving facility.
6/21/18 OSHA offers quick safety tips for Forklift Operators
A new OSHA QuickCard describes ways to mitigate the risks associated with operating and working around forklifts. Hazards to employees can include collisions, falls, tip-overs, and struck-by incidents and therefore OSHA requires safety training and basic forklift maintenance.
Basic forklift operator safety tips including:
- Always wearing a seatbelt when provided
- Never going over the rate load and making sure the load is balanced
- Place the forklift in neutral and set the parking brake before lifting the load
- Keep a safe distance from platform and ramp edges
- Be aware of other forklifts in the work area
- Have clear visibility of the work area when loading and operating a forklift
- Use the grab bar and proper footing to enter the lift
- Use the lights, mirrors, and horns
- Watch for pedestrians and observe the speed limit
- Never use the forks to lift people
6/20/18 OSHA prompts Firework/Pyrotechnics industry to promote safety
OSHA reminds employers in the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry to protect workers from hazards associated with manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying, and selling of fireworks in their Fact Sheet and other information on their website.
When inspecting fireworks and pyrotechnics facilities and operations OSHA will reference the 2011 CPL 02-01-053 Compliance Policy for the Manufacture, Storage, Sale, Handling, Use, and Display of Pyrotechnics, the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard 29 CFR 1910.119, the Explosive and Blasting Agents standard 29 CFR 1910.109, in addition to other general industry safety and health standards.
6/13/18 13 New Chemical category added to Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list
EPA added a nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) category to the list of toxic chemicals, because they are highly toxic to aquatic organisms. NPEs are used within adhesives, stabilizers, dispersants, wetting agents, emulsifiers, defoamers, detergents, paints, and coatings and must be reported as now listed in the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program which goes into effect in 2019 and must be reported by July 1, 2020.
The new NPEs category includes only these CAS chemicals numbers:
- 7311–27–5 — Ethanol, 2-[2-[2-[2-(4-nonylphenoxy)ethoxy]ethoxy]ethoxy]-
- 9016–45–9 — Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), a-(nonylphenyl)-w-hydroxy-
- 20427–84–3 — Ethanol, 2-[2-(4-nonylphenoxy)ethoxy]-
- 26027–38–3 — Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), a-(4-nonylphenyl)-w-hydroxy-
- 26571–11–9 — 3,6,9,12,15,18,21,24-Octaoxahexacosan-1-ol, 26- (nonylphenoxy)-
- 27176–93–8 — Ethanol, 2-[2-(nonylphenoxy)ethoxy]-
- 27177–05–5 — 3,6,9,12,15,18,21-Heptaoxatricosan-1-ol, 23-(nonylphenoxy)-
- 27177–08–8 — 3,6,9,12,15,18,21,24,27-Nonaoxanonacosan-1-ol, 29-(nonylphenoxy)-
- 27986–36–3 — Ethanol, 2-(nonylphenoxy)-
- 37205–87–1 — Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), a-(isononylphenyl)-w-hydroxy-
- 51938–25–1 — Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), a (2-nonylphenyl)-w-hydroxy-
- 68412–54–4 — Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), a-(nonylphenyl)-w-hydroxy-, branched
- 127087–87–0 — Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), a-(4-nonylphenyl)-w-hydroxy-, branched
6/12/18 OSHA Silica Standard starts enforcement on June 23rd for general industry, maritime
Note the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard has a new 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3, and an action level (AL) of 25 µg/m3 that will apply, and has new ancillary requirements.
OSHA will assist employers making good faith efforts during the first 30 days of enforcement, for questions contact (202) 693-2190. However, if no business effort is shown OSHA officers will conduct air monitoring and consider citations for noncompliance with the applicable sections of the new standard.
6/11/18 Active Shooter: Simple steps that can save lives
Recently, the FBI, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and local law enforcement came to the American Society of Safety Professionals forum, to provide guidance and answers on how organizations can plan, act, and recover for an active shooter event and the unique role the safety professional play in an organization’s planning and response efforts.
Since there is no specific profile of an active shooter, it is best to reach out and work with law enforcement, so they are more familiar with the workplace layout/etc. and can assist before and during an event. Forming a relationship with law enforcement and preparing a Threat Assessment Team of safety, security, operations, maintenance, employees, and HR will help recognize early on a potential threat to improve prevention and intervention.
- Give law enforcement as much heads up as possible. on-site information/map and prevention plan is crucial. In an, employers can place lock boxes at front entrance containing blueprints and key cards, and dry erase markers for law enforcement.
- Plan for reunification of workers, law enforcement may have occupied usual emergency gathering spots for fast-access, so have a back-up location for workers, family members and media personnel to meet.
- Let law enforcement speak to media early in the event. Law enforcement should talk to media, and the company’s communications team with law enforcement. Internal communications to workers, however, should come from the company.
- Have a plan for getting work done. The building is usually closed for days after an event for proper investigation. Employers should have a contingency plan, since many employees will leave without computers and other items needed to do their work.
- Plan for post-incident counseling. Provide HR staff with appropriate training on how to handle employees emotions/situations (trained professional for counseling) so they can assist in getting everyone back to a more normal routine.
- “Run, hide, fight. Or run, hide, die.” Sometimes there comes a point when fighting back is the best available option. Something as simple as throwing a book or yelling can disrupt the shooter enough so that other stronger measures can be taken. If employees are made aware and mentally prepared, the damage might be reduced.
6/08/18 EPA releases documents under Lautenberg Act, and proposes action on Asbestos
EPA announced it has taken “three important steps” to ensure chemical safety under the Lautenberg Act, noting it has released the following for public comment:
- The first 10 problem formulation documents, – This amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and refines the scope of risk evaluations and how they will be conducted for the chemicals.
- EPA’s systematic review approach document – This will guide the EPA’s selection and review of studies in and provide transparency regarding how the Agency plans to evaluate scientific information.
- Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) proposal enabling the Agency to prevent new uses of asbestos –in manufacturing and importing or processing of certain asbestos or asbestos containing materials before receiving EPA approval.
6/07/18 OSHA encourages participation in Safe + Sound Week
OSHA nationwide Safe Sound Week event on August 13-19, 2018 is intended to raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs and promoting a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in the workplace.
6/05/18 Could your Forklift Trainers operators/trainers handle an OSHA audit interview?
Several OSHA offices currently have enforcement emphasis programs in place to target companies that use Forklifts and other Powered Industrial Trucks (PITs) to 1910.178 standard which is regularly towards the top of OSHA’s list.
Currently OSHA inspectors are instructed to conduct interviews and an evaluation of the employer’s training program to determine the following list in OSHA Region 1, 4, 5, 7, and 10. The best way to address it is to assure you have competent instructors that know and follow the standard.
- Level of training and experience
- How evaluations are conducted
- Policies and procedures for forklift safety
- Frequency of training
- Procedure for competency evaluation when hiring experienced operators
- Knowledge of the owner’s manual for equipment
- When to remove/return trucks to service
6/05/18 OSHA 300A Injury & Illness reporting due July 1, 2018
Employers have until July 1, 2018, to submit electronically their OSHA 300A form for the 2017 year. Starting in 2019 and every following year, the OSHA 300A will be due on March 2.
There are three different options to submit data electronically:
- Entering data into a web form manually;
- Uploading data from a CSV file (CSV stands for comma separated value, a basic text file) for single or multiple establishments; and
- Transmitting automated recordkeeping systems data electronically via an API (application programming interface).
This rule applies to all employers that have 250 or more employees and to employers in high-risk industries that have 20-249 employees working in the 2017 year.
6/04/18 EPA revises Definition of Solid Waste due to court ruling
EPA is revises the Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) under the RCRA final rule published May 30, 2015 in response to a final ruling by the United States Court of Appeals on July 7, 2017 and modified on March 6, 2018.
The Court orders the following remains in effect as of May 30, 2018:
- Vacate the 2015 verified recycler exclusion for hazardous waste that is recycled off-site (except for certain provisions);
- Reinstate the transfer-based exclusion from the 2008 rule to replace the now-vacated 2015 verified recycler exclusion;
- Uphold the containment and emergency preparedness provisions of the 2015 rule;
- Vacate Factor 4 of the 2015 definition of legitimate recycling in its entirety; and
- Reinstate the 2008 version of Factor 4
6/01/18 Driver death shows why Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) procedures for vehicles is required
A truck driver was killed while trying to manually release frozen brakes and lack of proper training and lockout/tagout procedures were the root cause of his death.
The driver had crawled under the truck with the tools to forcibly free the brakes and his clothes became entangled in the universal joint (u-joint) and he was pinned against the frame of the truck causing death by asphyxiation.
What could have prevented the tragedy?
- All employees should be trained in appropriate equipment safety procedures.
- The employer should revise lockout/tagout program risks and procedures for working on energized equipment.
- Workers should not attempt tasks they have not received training on.
- Equipment should always be maintained in good operating condition.
✱ Contract with Facility Support Services to assure your environmental and safety procedures are current with 2018 regulations.
Prepare for Toxic Release Inventory (Form A / Form R) Deadline: July 1, 2018
5/25/18 Hazmat Violations Leads Trucking Company to Substantial Fines
A trucking company in Montana was found guilty on 13 out of 14 counts for violations pertaining to hazardous materials. The mislabeling and mishandling of the hazardous materials led to a fire on December 29, 2012, which injured three employees. Allegedly, the CEO of the company tried to conceal the violations with a false bill of lading in the days following the incident. The charges related to the explosion include conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, and one acquitted charge of placarding violations. The fines amounted to $644,689.70 and the trial ended on May 22, 2018.
5/23/18 Comments Requested for the 2020 Emergency Response Guidebook
The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) is accepting comments on Emergency Response Guidebooks (ERG) 2012 and 2016 editions, for input for the 2020 edition. All comments are welcomed, but the specific questions PHMSA would like to address are:
- Please provide examples of how the ERG can be more user-friendly for first responders during the initial response phase of a hazardous materials transportation incident.
- Is the most important information regarding the initial response phase accentuated enough in the guide?
- Is any of the information in the ERG unclear, or contradictory to other informative sources?
- Could the White Pages of the ERG be improved?
- Does any of the information in the Yellow Pages or Blue Pages seem to be wrong or assigned incorrectly? Please provide the identification number, material name and Guide number along with why you believe it may be a mistake.
- In the Orange Pages, are there any responses that do not fit the material they are paired with? If so, please explain and suggest a correction.
- Please suggest improvements or upgrades the introduction of the Green Pages or to any of the tables.
- Have you experienced any issues when using any of the provided Emergency Response Telephone Numbers? Please explain if so.
- How do you access the ERG (hardcopy, online, mobile, etc.) and why?
- How often have you needed to use the ERG in a transportation emergency?
Please submit any input to ERGComments@dot.gov.
5/22/18 Amendments to EPA’s Risk Management Program Reconsidered
EPA head Scott Pruitt signed the Risk Management Program (RMP) Reconsideration proposed rule, and this would modify the January 2017 Amendments to the RMP. EPA says that it would “reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens while maintaining consistency with the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations Process Safety Management standard,” while saving $88 million per year. Compliance dates are proposed to be delayed to one year after the effective date of a final rule for emergency coordination provisions, four years after for emergency exercises, two years after for the public meeting provision and five years after for the remaining risk management plan provisions (added by the Amendments rule or Reconsideration rule). Facilities would need to plan and schedule to meet requirements within four years of the effective date of a final rule, but there would be an additional year before owners and operators would be required to perform a notification drill, up to three additional years to conduct a tabletop exercise and there would be no stated deadline for the first field exercise. Comments on the proposed rule are accepted for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register, and there will be a public hearing on June 14, 2018.
5/18/18 Process Safety Management Defines Retail Exemption
The Process Safety Management (PSM) standards are designed to minimize chemical release and related hazards but has exempted “retail facilities”. The retail facilities term itself had not been defined until OSHA’s memo, which was later nullified on September 23, 2016. OSHA’s new memo states that citations under the PSM standard will not be issued to employers under the following North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes:
- 424510 Grain and field bean merchant wholesalers
- 424590 Other farm product raw materials merchant wholesalers
- 424910 Farm supplies merchant wholesalers
OSHA stated that the industries referred to above still must comply with applicable OSHA standards.
5/16/18 Harbor Freight Tools Chainsaw Recall
Over 1 million Harbor Freight Chainsaws have been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The affected units may continue to operate after turning the switch to “off”, which is a risk of injury for the operator. Portland, One Stop Gardens and Chicago Electric 14-inch electric chainsaws are the specific products recalled, with Model Numbers 67255 or 61592. Call Harbor Freight Tools at 800-444-3353 Monday – Friday 8AM – 4:30PM (PT), email email@example.com or visit the “Recall Safety Information” page on harborfreight.com for information on how to replace the recalled product.
5/15/18 Toxin – Methylene Chloride
Methylene Chloride, found in some paint thinners, coating removals, metal cleaners and degreasers, has been connected to at least 17 worker deaths since 2000. Short-term exposures can affect the central nervous system, leading to dizziness, incapacitation and even death. Long-term exposure can cause liver toxicity, liver cancer and lung cancer. The EPA is planning to finalize a methylene chloride rulemaking, rely on its previous risk assessments and work to send the finalized rulemaking to the Office of Management and Budget. Environmental groups are encouraging stores to pull products containing methylene chloride despite the fact that the EPA is not actually banning the chemical to date.
5/14/18 Beryllium Standard Compliance Dates
OSHA’s beryllium standard requirements in General Industry, Construction and Marine/Shipyard industries is enforced as of May 11, 2018. The enforcement of ancillary provisions in the standard for General Industry is delayed to June 25, 2018 and may be further delayed until December 12, 2018. The immediately enforced provisions include the Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) within the standards for General Industry, Construction and Marine/Shipyard; exposure assessments, respiratory protection, medical surveillance and medical removal requirements within the General Industry standard. Requirements for General Industry change rooms and showers, has a compliance date of March 11, 2019 and engineering control compliance date of March 10, 2020.
5/11/18 OSHA Planning to Revise Electronic Reporting of Injury and Illness
OSHA plans to remove the requirement for employers with 250 or more employees to submit data electronically from their OSHA 300 Logs and OSHA 301 Incident Reports, they would still be required to submit their 300-A Summary data electronically to OSHA. OSHA also seeks comments on the addition of the Employer Identification Number (EIN) to data collection. Its aim is to make injury and illness reporting more efficient.
5/09/18 Worker Deaths from Falls Rises 26% from 2011 to 2016
Deaths in the workplace from falls to a lower level have risen from 533 in 2011 to 697 in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS says that more than half of the fatal accidents have been in private construction. In this specific industry, the numbers rose from 255 in 2011 to 370 in 2016, which is a 45% increase. All other industries combined have had a 10% increase in fatal falls over this time frame.
5/08/18 What Will Happen During and After a Federal OSHA Inspection
A Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) from Federal OSHA would conduct an inspection and address the nature of any violation, provide violation corrective actions along with required dates to meet, and any penalties issued. OSHA has an recently updated their booklet titled “Employer Rights and Responsibilities following a Federal OSHA Inspection” that outlines steps that employers need to take after an inspection. It includes posting requirements, employer options, the informal conference and settlement, violation types, how to comply, how to contest citations, how to file for modification of abatement, employees’ rights to contest a petition for modification of abatement, follow-up inspections and failure to abate, as well as employer responsibilities. The booklet can be accessed at osha.gov.
5/04/18 OSHA cites employer for not addressing workplace violence
OSHA cited a Florida behavioral health center for failing to protect employees from workplace violence. Proposed penalties totaled $71,137. While OSHA does not have a specific standard on workplace violence, they do require employers to furnish a place of employment free of recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm. For each violation the company does not contest, it must take steps to fix the problem.
5/02/18 Allergy Season can Threaten Driver Safety
Some allergy medications can cause drowsiness, dizziness, an upset stomach, blurred vision, a headache, nervousness, fast heartbeat, increased blood pressure, loss of appetite and sleep problems. These side effects can interfere with a worker’s ability to operate heavy machinery, including commercial motor vehicles. There is no official list of the prohibited drugs, but the driver should ask their medical practitioner whether the substance could affect their ability to operate heavy machinery. Even over-the-counter medications are included in the list if there are side effects that could case impairments to the driver.
5/02/18 EPA Lead Paint Violations issued to Three Companies
During renovation work of a condominium development in Silver Spring, MD, three(3) companies were found to be in violation of EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) and the Toxic Substances Control Act. The companies will pay a total of $80,000 for the violations, as well as certifying and ensuring that they are now in compliance with the related rules and regulations. The EPA’s RRP Rule was created to prevent exposures to toxic lead hazards from lead-based paint used in renovations.
✱ Contract with Facility Support Services to assure your environmental and safety procedures are current with 2018 regulations.
Prepare for Toxic Release Inventory (Form A / Form R) Deadline: July 1, 2018
4/30/18 E-reporting Requirements for Workplace Injury and Illness
OSHA is requiring employers electronically submit their Form 300A data by July 1, 2018, which no longer exempts establishments covered by a State Plan. Establishments with 250 employees or more must submit all forms (300A, 300 and 301) by July 1, 2018, and beginning in 2019 the information must be submitted by March 2nd every year thereafter. Employers with 20-249 employees in high risk industries must submit form 300A by July 1, 2018 and starting in 2019 they must submit the form by March 2nd each year.
4/30/18 New Fact Sheet for Safe Hot Work Practices
The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) announced that explosions and fires due to flammable atmospheres in confined spaces are the top cause of hot work type worker death. The CSB recommends seven key lessons to prevent these accidents from occurring:
- When possible, use alternatives to avoid conducting hot work.
- Determine hazards and control before starting hot work.
- Even if a flammable atmosphere is not likely, use a properly calibrated combustible gas detector to monitor the atmosphere before and while conducting hot work.
- In areas of storage and handling of flammable substances, all equipment and piping should be drained and purged prior to starting hot work. Surrounding tanks and spaces should be monitored for flammables when welding on or near storage tanks or containers.
- Ensure that employees who are aware of the site-specific hazards oversee and approve of all hot work, and issue permits to recognize the work that will be done and the necessary precautions to be taken.
- Employees must be trained on hot work policies, procedures, use and calibration of combustible gas detectors, safety equipment and site-specific hazards.
- Contractors conducting hot work must be supervised. Contractors must be informed about site-specific hazards and whether there are flammable materials present.
4/26/18 Honeywell Hard Hat Recall
The Consumer Products and Safety Commission (CPSC) declared a hard hat recall of Honeywell Fibre-Metal (E2) and North Peak (A79) hats which is approximately 80,000 units. The defect can cause a failure of protection from impact and puts users at risk of head injury. The affected Fibre-Metal (E2) hats have an April 2016, May 2016, December 2017 or January 2018 manufacture date. The North Peak (A79) hats have manufacture dates of April 2016 through January 2018 with a mold identification number of four(4). The manufacture date and mold identification number are found under the brim of the hat.
For a refund, contact Honeywell: Call 888-212-6903 from 8AM – 5PM ET Monday-Friday or visit the Voluntary Product Recall page on www.honeywellsafety.com.
4/19/18 EPA’s Plans to Update Wastewater Blending During Wet Weather Regulations
Blending, or redirecting excess wastewater around the sewage treatment unit and mixing it in with secondary treatment wastewater for decontamination before discharge, can allow a treatment facility to prevent shutdown or damage. The EPA will hold outreach events to receive comments from stakeholders prior to proposing the updates to the regulations.
4/17/18 OSHA Offers Safety Recommendations for Drivers at Warehouses, Docks and Construction Sites
OSHA has outlined safety tips for post-destination commercial driving activities. Drivers must understand hazards existing at warehouses, docks or construction sites and employers must express specific operating procedures to drivers.
Specifically, when parking, drivers are advised to park near receiving door or site; on level ground; set and test brakes; utilize wheel chocks at tandem wheels of the trailer and avoid attempting to stop a vehicle that is rolling. When backing up, OSHA recommends that drivers get out of the vehicle and look; use flashers, horn and backup alarms; check each mirror; roll down windows and listen; recognize blind spots; use a spotter; slowly back up and stand clear while opening doors during unloading. When coupling/uncoupling a tractor trailer, drivers should only perform what they are trained to do; maintain stable footing when releasing the fifth wheel or adjusting tandems; wear clothing with high visibility; set brakes and conduct tug test; stay clear of tires and frames; and check for nearby traffic.
4/12/18 New Minimum Education Level for Certified Safety Professionals (CSPs)
The Board of Certified Safety Professionals has established a change in the requirements for individuals applying for the CSP certification. Effective July 2, 2018, prospective CSPs must hold at least a bachelor’s degree for consideration. Individuals who applied for the certification prior to the effective date must obtain a bachelor’s degree by December 31, 2020 to satisfy the prerequisite.
4/12/18 Hazmat Violations led to Immediate Carrier Shut Down
In Crossville, Tennessee, a motor carrier was shut down after a federal investigation determined that the establishment posed a threat to public safety. A federal order was served by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on April 9, 2018. The Tennessee Highway Patrol pulled over a commercial vehicle of the company and conducted a safety inspection. The pickup truck contained explosives which were in violation of several Hazardous Materials Regulations and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The load contained numerous Case 1 type explosives (ammonium nitrate-fuel oil mixture), electric detonators, blasting caps and a detonating cord. Further investigation led to the discovery of additional safety non-compliance issues such as: hazardous material shipping papers and placards on the vehicle; emergency response information; a driver with a commercial license, Hazardous Materials endorsement and medical certification; specialized Hazardous Materials training and the DOT drug and alcohol testing program. The company can face both civil consequences and criminal prosecution.
4/11/18 Twelve Federal Agencies attempt to speed up the Permitting process for Infrastructure Projects
The EPA and 11 other federal agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to improve efficiency of the review and permitting process of infrastructure projects. The MOU suggests a federal agency lead the authorization process for major projects. It guides agencies to agree on a timeline of completing the process within two years and advises collaboration on creating a single record of decision. In addition to the EPA, the other agencies that signed the MOU are the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Dept. of Transportation, U.S. Dept. of Energy, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council.
4/09/18 Company Policy – Emergency Situations & Weapons
In response to the recent attack at the YouTube headquarters in California, employers are reminded of the challenging duty of protecting employees from workplace violence. The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to maintain a safe and healthy workplace.
To help employees feel safe, employers can:
Weapons policy – which include defining a weapon, whether they are allowed on the property, signs communicating the policy and what consequences, or violations involve.
Communicate with employees – Remind employees of your company’s commitment to keep them safe. Ask employees if they feel secure, request input and assess safety policy for improvements.
Train regularly – Train all employees to identify and react to active shooter or potential violence situations. Employees practicing the skills make them more likely to be able to act instead of panic during and emergency event.
✱ Contract with Facility Support Services to assure your environmental and safety procedures are current with 2018 regulations.
3/30/18 Hazardous waste manifests (e-Manifest) launch on June 30, 2018, but you can also use paper manifests
The new e-Manifest system will become available and effective June 30, 2018 in all states, but according to the EPA the hazardous waste generators or transporters effected will also be able to continue using paper manifests, or use a hybrid of the two even after the date. EPA is helping to assist companies with the e-Manifest by regularly updated their website with current and assistant information.
It is helpful to note that all hazardous waste handlers will continue to have access to manifest data for 90 days after receiving the waste, to allow time to sort out discrepancies and make corrections. The current 6-part manifest form is being replaced with a new 5-part manifest form, which includes the replacement of the two copies distributed to state and federal databases. The public will not have access to data from manifests involving any Chemicals of Interest per chemical security rules issued by the Department of Homeland Security
3/26/18 PHMSA wants input on the transport of hazardous materials in automated vehicles
The ability to use automated driving on highways and rails for transporting hazardous materials, is a topic that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) would like public feedback on from now until May 7th.
PHMSA requests comments on the development, testing, and integration of automated technologies for both highway and rail transport of hazardous materials.
PHMSA is specifically requesting input on these 11 topics:
- Do freight operators envision hazardous materials in automated vehicles within the next 10 years?
- What are the safety, regulatory, and policy implications of automated vehicles on the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR)? Please include any potential solutions.
- What are potential regulatory incompatibilities between the HMR and automated transportation systems or vehicles? Such as:
- Emergency response information and hazard communication
- Packaging and handling requirements, including pre-transportation functions
- Incident response and reporting
- Safety and security plans (e.g., en route security)
- Modal requirements (e.g., highway and rail)
- Are there specific HMR requirements that would need modifications to allow automated vehicle transportation systems?
- What technologies would help to make automated transport of hazardous materials safer?
- To what extent does HMR restrict the automated transportation of hazardous materials in parcel delivery in non-bulk packaging or freight shipments of less-than-truckload?
- To what extent does HMR restrict the use of automated transportation of hazardous materials in bulk packaging by rail or vehicle?
- Which specific issues could be problematic for automated transportation that are not issues with human drivers?
- Do HMR requirements present different challenges with inspections, packaging or other tasks?
- What solutions could PHMSA consider to address regulatory any incompatibilities?
- What should PHMSA consider when reviewing applications for special permits seeking regulatory flexibility for automated transport?
- What long-term solutions should be considered with HMR development, testing, and integration?
- What should PHMSA consider in developing policies, guidance, and regulations for safe automated transportation?
3/26/18 OSHA Fact Sheet addresses Emergency Action Plans, Exit Routes, & Prevention
OSHA Fact Sheet provides employer requirements on the number of exit routes required and requirements for exit routes, maintenance, safeguarding, removal of obstructions and hazards and recommended procedures. Written emergency action plans (EAPs) and fire prevention plans (FPPs) are requirements for all employers, with the exemption of employers who have 10 or fewer employees, who can instead verbally communicate their plans.
OSHA requires employers to develop Emergency Action Plans for 7 different standards:
- Process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals – 29 CFR 1910.119
- Fixed extinguishing systems, general – 29 CFR 1910.160
- Fire detection systems, 29 CFR 1910.164
- Grain handling – 29 CFR 1910.272
- Ethylene oxide – 29 CFR 1910.1047
- Methylenedianiline – 29 CFR 1910.1050
- 1,3-Butadiene – 29 CFR 1910.1051
OSHA required elements of an Emergency Action Plans at a minimum are:
- Procedures for reporting fires and other emergencies.
- Procedures for emergency evacuation, including specific procedures and exit routes used.
- Procedures for employees who stay behind to continue critical plant operations.
- Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation.
- Procedures for employees performing rescue or medical duties.
- Name or job title of employees to contact for detailed plan information.
- Alarm system used to alert workers.
OSHA requires employers to develop Fire Prevention Plans for 3 different Standards:
- Ethylene oxide – 1910.1047
- Methylenedianiline – 1910.1050
- 1,3-Butadiene – 1910.1051
OSHA requires all employees understand all fire hazards they may be exposed to before working any job:
- A list of all major fire hazards, proper handling and storage procedures for hazardous materials, potential ignition and control of sources, and fire protection equipment necessary.
- Procedures to control accumulations of flammable and combustible waste materials.
- Procedures for maintenance of safeguards on heat-producing equipment to prevent ignition of combustible materials.
- Name or title of employees responsible for maintaining prevention or control of ignition or fires.
- Name or job title of employees responsible for the control of fuel sources or handling.
3/23/18 OSHA, EPA and DHS partner in developing protocols in chemical communication
OSHA will join with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create an improved coordination and notification system with local governments and emergency responders when a company is cited for a serious chemical or hazardous materials violations. This new Chemical Facility Security and Safety Working Group effort will optimize communications in order to help local emergency responders to prevent or prepare for chemical emergencies in their jurisdictions. OSHA wants to immediately implement open notification and communication, for any company cited for a serious violation involving hazardous materials or the handling of hazardous materials.
Chemical Facility Security and Safety Working Group want to address:
- Sharing information with first responders in order to safely and effectively plan for and respond to incidents;
- Developing tools, training, and resources to strengthen State Emergency Response Commissions and Local Emergency Planning Committees;
- Coordinating with agencies beyond OSHA, EPA, and DHS, by working with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Food and Drug Administration, to address hazardous materials incidents and the effects on workers and communities;
- Coordinating information sharing between partnering agencies, local governments, and private sectors.
- Offering and conducting cross-training to raise awareness between all partners.
3/19/18 OSHA’s new safety bulletins on Hearing Loss & Hazards of Horizontal Drilling
One bulletin is titled Preventing Hearing Loss Caused by Chemical (Toxicity) and Noise Exposure was issued by Safety and Health Bulletins (SHIBs) group on March 8, 2018. Research shows exposure to certain chemicals, known as ototoxicants, may also cause hearing loss or balance problems, even without noise exposure.
Common ototoxicants include:
- some pesticides,
- and pharmaceuticals.
Industries likely to have ototoxicants:
- and agriculture.
Occupational activities with high noise exposures:
- Certain manufacturing jobs
- Fueling vehicles and aircrafts
- Weapons firing and
- Pesticide spraying
Prevention is key – employers need to review Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for ototoxic substances. Employers must provide health and safety information and training to workers exposed to ototoxic chemicals. If workers complain about hearing loss, they should investigate SDSs for ototoxicants.
Recommendations to prevent exposures to ototoxicants:
- Replace hazardous chemicals with less hazardous ones
- Determine the appropriate PPE and respiratory protection
- Provide chemical protective gloves, arm sleeves, aprons, and other appropriate clothing to prevent skin-absorption of ototoxic chemicals
- Comply with the noise exposure standard at 29 CFR 1910.95.
- Using enclosures or PPE to control exposures to hazardous chemicals and reduce noise
- Provide adequate ventilation
- Eliminate tasks that cause noise or chemical exposures
The second new bulletin issued also on March 8, 2018 from SHIB, addresses how to avoid serious hazards associated with Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD). HDD is a specific type of equipment that drills horizontally underground in order to install pipes, conduits, and cables. Drills that contact electrical lines can cause electrocution and any puncturing of a gas line with a drill can lead to a explosion.
Minimizing chances of electrocution:
- Contractors must use the state’s utility location system before performing any drilling.
- Visually inspecting digging path for potential underground utilities (gas meters, manhole covers).
- Reviewing drawings and contact utility companies directly to verify underground utility locations.
- Comparing findings with surface markings to identify any missed utility.
- Employ potholing and other safety precautions to also identify and avoid lines in the drill path.
- Call 811 (Call Before You Dig) before any groundwork begins.
- Do site-specific safety assessment for appropriate drilling techniques and safety practices
- Training HDD machine operators to communicate with hand signals and radios
- Review tracking device readings frequently against pre-operational walkthrough readings
- Drill at a pace slow enough to sense any drill deflections caused by large obstructions
Minimizing explosions or fires:
- Employers must develop a fire protection program to be followed
- Employers must prohibit open flames and smoking at a worksite
- Develop and implement a site-specific Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for all workers to follow
- Have full knowledge/practice of Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for suspected natural gas leak, including immediately evacuating the area,
- calling 911, and the utility company.
- If using a cell phone, move away from the area where there might be gas before calling.
- Comply with all applicable OSHA local, state, and federal regulations.
3/16/18 EPA Memo eases Air Permitting process
The Clean Air Act’s (CAA) New Source Review (NSR) program requires all facilities to determine within a 2 Step process (abbreviated below), if their new or modified sources of polluted air emissions at a facility would increase or decrease once it commences. If the company’s polluted air emission output is projected to increase to levels beyond the limits specified in CAA, then an NSR permit would be required of a company before any modifications or construction is conducted. Any change that is projected to decrease the polluted air emissions, would only require a state-issued minor source permit, instead of the NSR permit.
- Step 1: Determining if the proposed project, by itself, will result in a significant increase or decrease in emissions to the air. If the answer is yes, the process moves to Step 2.
- Step 2: Determining if the project, combined with other unrelated recent projects, will result in a significant net emissions increase for the region, state, or area.
3/14/18 Judge rules EPA must move forward with ozone determinations by April 30, 2018 deadline
The U.S. District Court’s summary judgement against EPA shows there is no dispute that EPA missed its October 1, 2017 deadline and is nearing its second April deadline, to set the ozone designations as required per the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS).
Air quality designations determine if a state or area, is meeting its air quality obligations under the Clean Air Act (CAA). Areas that do not meet the standard are considered to be in “nonattainment,” and may have to meet strict air permitting requirements.
3/14/18 OSHA hopes to reduce excavation and trench-related deaths in 2018
In 2016 excavation and trench-related fatalities nearly double the average of the previous five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is something that must be addressed.
OSHA efforts this year include:
- Increase awareness of trench safety in construction
- Educate employers and workers on trenching hazards and present solutions to cave-in
- Issue public service announcements
- National 2018 Trench Safety Stand Down (June 18-23)
- Update online resources on trench safety
- Work with other industry associations and public utility companies
- Revise the national emphasis program for trenching and excavation
3/13/18 OSHA’s 2 new Fact Sheets to address Electricity and Power lines
OSHA new fact sheets describe the hazards to those who work directly or indirectly with electricity and power lines.
Working Safely with Electricity Fact Sheet covers the following:
- Never operate a generator indoors and ensure exhaust does not enter a home or building.
- Turn off main circuit breaker and lockout/tagout before starting a generator to prevent backfeed energy.
- Turn off generators and allow them to cool before refueling.
- Know where overhead and buried power lines are located.
- Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines and assume they are energized.
- De-energize and ground lines when working near them.
- Use ladders made of non-conducting materials when working near power lines.
- Only use equipment that is approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
- Do not modify cords or use them incorrectly.
- Do use cords that are 3-wire type.
- Use cords, connection devices, and fittings equipped with strain relief.
- Removing cords from receptacles, pull on the plugs, not the cords.
- Use double-insulated tools and equipment that is distinctively marked.
- Visually inspect all equipment with frayed cords, missing ground prongs, cracked tool casings
- Ground all power supply systems, electrical circuits, and electrical equipment.
- Inspect electrical systems frequently to ensure a continuous path to ground.
- Use double-insulated tools and ground all exposed metal parts of equipment.
- Avoid standing in wet areas when using portable electrical tools.
Working Safely Around Downed Electrical Wires Fact Sheet covers the following:
Downed electrical wires present life-threatening dangers to workers, as wires can still be energized especially following a storm.
“Rules to Live By”:
- Do not assume that a downed power line is safe because it is not sparking.
- Do not assume that any wire does not carry lethal current.
- Treat everything electrical as energized until tested and proven to be de-energized.
- Never go near a downed or fallen electric power line.
- Electricity can spread outward through the ground in a circular shape from the point of contact.
- Never drive over downed power lines.
- If contact is made with an energized power line while you are in a vehicle, remain calm and do not get out unless the vehicle is on fire. call for help.
- If you must exit any equipment because of fire, jump so that you do not touch the equipment and ground at the same time.
3/12/18 Aerosol cans may soon be universal waste or recycle material
EPA plans to add aerosol cans to the federal list of materials eligible to be handled as universal wastes, but encourages recycling over disposal. If the rule is finalized, it could affect more than 18,000 industries, including retailers and manufacturers, and save between $3.0 million and $63.3 million in annual costs.
The 2015 statistics from Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) state over 3.82 billion aerosol cans were used by commercial/industrial facilities and households. Aerosol cans dispense a broad range of products ranging from paints, solvents, and pesticides, to personal care products and cheese.
Until the proposal is finalized, aerosol cans are regulated under the full hazardous waste management program, meaning the generator must determine if the can’s contents are a hazardous waste and manage the cans and its contents according to the hazardous waste category regulations and any additional state requirements. Note that household hazardous waste is exempt from federal hazardous waste management regulations.
Currently, aerosol cans that meet the regulatory definition of empty are able to be recycled, and not subject to the hazardous waste management regulations. EPA interprets the regulations to mean that puncturing and draining an aerosol can for recycling purposes is part of the recycling process; however, the contents of the can must still be managed as a hazardous waste. One important cautionary note, exposing the cans to excessive heat, can result in unwanted consequences such as fires and explosions.
EPA will accept comments on the proposed Universal Waste Aerosol Can rule for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. Four states already have aerosol can for universal waste programs in place and 2 other states have it proposed.
3/06/18 Beryllium final rule – delayed until May 11, 2018
OSHA’s Beryllium rule established new Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) and Short-Term Exposure Limits (STEL), and other ancillary provisions applicable to employers within all industries (General Industry, Construction, and Shipyard). The rule became effective on May 20, 2017, with the compliance date for general industry employers set for March 12, 2018. The exceptions include change rooms and showers, which commence on March 11, 2019 and engineering controls that will begin in 2020.
However, OSHA proposed to revoke the provisions of the 2017 Beryllium rule and have not taken any official action since it rulemaking, but has issued a memo stating they will enforce the general industry standard starting May 11, 2018; and also enforce the new PEL and STEL in construction but not the ancillary provisions. The reason for the delay in the general industry rule is to allow OSHA more time for negotiations with the parties who have filed legal actions challenging the rule.
3/07/18 OSHA puts focus on preventing Falls in Construction on May 7-11
OSHA in partnership with five other national safety groups will promote a National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction on May 7th to 11th, since it is the leading cause of death within Construction for many years and totaled over 370 deaths in 2016.
The Safety Stand-Down is a time when employers across the country stop working and take a break to focus on fall hazards and the importance of prevention and safety policies implemented by company’s.
✱ Contract with Facility Support Services to assure your environmental and safety procedures are current with 2018 regulations.
2/21/18 Should EPA revise its stance on industrial wastewater discharges that reach groundwater?
EPA wants public comments on if there should be any regulation on industrial wastewater discharges to groundwater.
EPA has stated that pollutants discharged from point sources that reach jurisdictional surface waters via groundwater or other subsurface flow has a direct hydrologic connection to the jurisdictional water may therefore be subject to permitting requirements under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) accepted by the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Two reasons that it matters:
1) EPA is currently considering changing its definition of “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Rule, and limiting what is considered to be “waters” that are affected; and
2) Not all discharges to groundwater are covered by National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. Only discharges of pollutants to surface waters that can be proven to be via groundwater require NPDES permits.
2/20/18 OSHA enforcement action for Beryllium exposure begins in May 2018
OSHA Inspectors will begin official enforcement actions as of May 11, 2018 on the Beryllium exposure final rule issued January 2017.
About 62,000 U.S. workers in manufacturing, construction and shipyard industries are exposed to Beryllium a known carcinogenic in their workplaces. Common work activities such as cutting, sanding, abrasive blasting, etc to an item containing beryllium expose workers to harmful airborne dust particles that when inhaled can cause beryllium disease and lung cancer. Limiting workers exposure to beryllium and its compounds is the main solution to this hazardous issue.
Employer actions and key changes required:
- Reduce Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) for Beryllium to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air over 8 hours. New short-term exposure limit of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air, over a 15-minute sampling period.
- Develop a written exposure control plan and implement work practice controls
- Limit worker access to beryllium exposure areas (such as ventilation or enclosure)
- Provide respirators when controls cannot adequately limit exposure
- Train workers on beryllium hazards
- Medical exams must be made available to monitor beryllium exposed workers
Beryllium is found in:
- springs, electrical contacts, spot-welding electrodes and non-sparking tools
- brake discs, windshield frames, ceramic applications,
- support beams, structural components of high-speed aircrafts, spacecraft, satellites and missiles, and nuclear reactors
2/19/18 OSHA Specifies 5 common tree care work hazards
- Traffic control,
- Drop zones,
- Wood chippers,
- Aerial lifts, and
- Power lines.
Tree care is conducted near moving vehicles and pedestrians, and OSHA recommends employers train workers on traffic and zone safety and site setup. Workers should use barricades and flaggers to guide vehicles and pedestrian traffic through or around traffic zones and ensure visibility of workers by wearing bright and reflective vests and using lights at night.
Drop zone prevention training should include wearing hard hats and eye protection and position cones or barriers to mark drop zone where trees, tree limbs, and tools can fall.
Wood chipper use has many hazards and OSHA wants employers to train workers. Workers need to know how to inspect and operate wood chippers properly, ensure safety guards and emergency shut-off devices are functional before using machinery, stand to the side when feeding materials into wood chipper, and wear proper personal protective equipment to protect eyes, head, hands as well as hearing protection against hazardous noise levels.
Aerial lifts injuries and fatalities are often a result of falls, electrocutions, and equipment collapses or tip-overs. Worker training should include the manufacturer’s instructions and operation, inspection of lift and site around the lift, and outrigging only on level solid surfaces. Workers must where a body harnesses or belt with a lanyard to the bucket for fall protection.
Power lines present an electrocution hazards. The prevention tips include training to identify and avoid power lines, to always assume lines are energized, wearing proper personal protection, and not to use metal ladders.
2/16/18 US Online retailer sells illegal pesticides and EPA penalizes and corrects
A major national online retailer out of Seattle sold and distributed imported pesticide products that were not licensed for sale in the U.S. since 2013, committing nearly 4,000 violations according to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
The EPA settlement required a penalty of $1,215,715 and the retailer must also develop an online training course specifying EPA’s pesticide regulations. Anyone wanting to sell pesticide products through the retailer’s online platform going forward must successfully complete the pesticide regulations training.
The retailer alert anyone who had purchased the illegal pesticides between 2013 and 2016 to product safety concerns and recommended proper disposal. The company also offered refunds to its customers.
2/15/18 Senate confirms new head of FMCSA Administrator
The U.S. Senate on February 13, 2018 approved Ray Martinez as director of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Deputy Administrator Cathy F. Gautreaux had been acting as interim administrator since late 2017.
Ray Martinez was previously the Chairman and Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and a Member of the New Jersey State Planning Commission.
Other accomplishments include:
- New York State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles,
- Chairman of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, and
- Deputy Chief of Staff and Special Counsel to the New York State Attorney General.
- Served twice on Board of Directors of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
2/14/18 EPA releases 2017 Toxics Release Reporting Inventory (TRI) instructions
EPA’s annual Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reports are due July 1, 2018. Industrial facilities that meet EPA’s reporting criteria (threshold levels) on TRI listed chemicals they manufacture, process, or otherwise use, must submit to their state either Form R or Form A information.
New changes required for reporting year 2017, to be submitted July 1, 2018:
- Final rule added Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) as a reportable chemical.
- Final rule adopted the use of 2017 NAICS codes.
- EPA updated de minimis levels for the several chemicals listed below:
cumene, diazinon, 1,2-dichloropropane, malathion, methyl isobutyl ketone, parathion, parathion, sodium pentachlorophenate, 1,1,1,2-tetrachloroethane, and 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane. These chemicals were recently classified as OSHA carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Toxicology Program Report on Carcinogens.
2/12/18 NIOSH instructs properly wear of respirators with pictures
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) added a picture with respiratory protection information and best practices on to its “National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory” webpage.
Three key factors in wearing a respirator effectively:
- Respirator must be donned correctly and worn whenever the user is exposed to dust particles.
- Respirator must fit snugly on the user’s face with no gaps between skin and the seal.
- Respirator itself must collect more than 95% of the particles in the air that pass through it.
2/12/18 ISO 45001 now internationally accepted as Occupational Safety Health Management system!
3/12/18 The ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems a global safety standard aimed at creating safer workplaces throughout the world was finally officially published this March 2018. It was originated by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) out of Switzerland, but became a multiyear project that included input from more than 75 countries across 6 continents.
“ISO 45001 is one of the most significant developments in workplace safety over the past 50 years, presenting an opportunity to move the needle on reducing occupational safety and health risks,” says Vic Toy of The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) administrator on the U.S. technical advisory group to ISO 45001. The latest world-wide statistics of 2.78 million fatal accidents and 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses occur each year by the International Labor Organization (ILO), point out that there is plenty of room for improvement for worker safety. The ISO 45001 standard provides a framework that all companies in any industry and location within the world can use to increase employee health/safety, reduce workplace risks, and improve business’s bottom line worldwide.
ISO 45001 will replace OHSAS 18001, the world’s former reference for workplace health and safety. Organizations already certified to OHSAS 18001 will have 3 years to comply with the new ISO 45001 standard, although certification of conformity to ISO 45001 is not a requirement of the standard.
2/12/2018 In FY2017 EPA conducted fewer inspections but issued higher penalties
EPA conducted approximately 2,000 less federal inspections and evaluations than the prior year FY2016, but collected more monetary criminal and civil penalties than FY2016.
EPA’s FY2017 accomplishments:
- Increased site clean ups to $1.2 billion by issuing responsibility to private parties
- EPA Superfund & RCRA Corrective Action Environmental addressed 20.5 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and 412 million of water
- Increased total criminal fines, restitution, and mitigation to $2.98 billion
- Increased years of incarceration from EPA’s criminal actions to 150 years
- Added $20 billion in funds for more actions to improve compliance and reduce pollution
- Collected $1.6 billion in criminal and civil penalties
Future plan: EPA will focus on the enforcement program to reduce the time between identifying a violation and correcting the issue. EPA is trying to fully capture and summarize all enforcement and compliance activities by tracking both informal and formal actions.
2/06/18 ACGIH approves 2018 TLVs® & BEIs® additions to Notice of Intended Changes
The 2018 Threshold Limit Values (TLVs®) for Chemical Substances/Agents and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs®) have been officially validated and additions have been made to the Notice of Intended Changes (NIC), by the ACGIH. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) is a charitable scientific organization that advances occupational and environmental health.
TLVs and BEIs are intended to be used by professionals trained in the practice of industrial hygiene, and the information listed is to used only as guidelines not designed to be used as a required standards. The values are determined by committees that review a number of scientific disciplines publishing and findings and from which they forms a conclusion on the level of exposure that a typical worker can experience without adverse health effects. Users of TLVs and BEIs data should read the Statement of Position Regarding for proper usage of the values.
The NIC is made up of chemicals and physical agents for which:
- A limit is proposed for the first time;
- A change in the value/index is proposed;
- Retention as an NIC is proposed; or
- Withdrawal of documentation and adopted values is proposed.
In each case, a proposal should be considered a trial value.
ACGIH will accept comments and suggestions for NIC substances for TLVs/BEIs.
2/02/18 EPA definition of “Waters of the United States” delayed for 2 years
On January 31st, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finalized a rule that determined an applicability date to the 2015 Clean Water Rule, also known as “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The new rule is intended to settle the debate over which definition of WOTUS applies nationwide.
The 2015 Clean Water Act Rule went into effective on August 28, 2016, but was challenged by the president’s Executive Order (EO) 13778 issued February 28, 2017 which prompted the EPA to rescind the original rule’s definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The Supreme Court determined that the lower courts lacked the jurisdiction and authority to stop the original 2015 CWA rule.
The applicability date for 2015 CWA rule will be 2 years after the final rule is formally published in the Federal Register, which will provide the EPA and the Army additional time to review and further consider other input from states, localities, tribal governments, and other stakeholders who wish to change the WOTUS’s definition.
2/01/18 NIOSH identifies most urgent occupational risk factors for manufacturing
The final National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) for Manufacturing is now available and is intended to identify the most urgent occupational risk factors and actions needed to prevent avoidable adverse outcomes among workers. The NORA was created by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the organization is culmination of different researchers with specialized backgrounds that describe the most relevant and urgent occupational risks and the required and most beneficial manufacturing response.
These are the established objectives:
- Increase awareness and training of occupational hazards and effects; and develop interventions to reduce exposure to the acute and chronic occupational illnesses, injuries, and fatalities.
- Improve safety within the manufacturing environment
- Reduce exposure to chemicals or agents that are related to respiratory diseases, cancer, neurologic diseases, and adverse reproductive situations.
- Take measures to reduce occupational musculoskeletal disorders
- Monitor and reduce exposures to hearing loss in manufacturing.
- Conduct surveillance of contributors to hazards, exposures, and illnesses
- Evaluate any new risks from new technologies or machineries in manufacturing
- Determine if new technologies or softwares can advance occupational safety and health in manufacturing.
- Improve occupational safety and health for workers in non-traditional employment arrangements.
- Advance capacity-building and educational efforts in manufacturing.
- Develop mechanisms to translation of research into actual work practice in the manufacturing.
2/01/18 Hazmat crash investigation reveals issues with cargo tank inspections
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued six safety recommendations as the result of a severe crash investigation involving a cargo tank vehicle loaded with propane (hazardous materials).
Investigation of the incident discovered the following issues:
- Loading of the cargo tank,
- Inspection and testing of the tank, and
- Qualification and training of cargo tank inspectors.
Recommendations to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
- To enhance enforcement of cargo tank requalification procedure, and
- To work with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to incorporate, by reference into the Hazardous Materials Regulations, inspector training requirements of industry cargo tank inspection code.
Recommendations to Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
- Elimination of a Grandfather provision for less qualified inspectors,
- Revision of the definition of registered inspector and ensuring all persons certified to inspect cargo tanks are qualified and competent, and
- Implementing regulations that provide for suspension and revocation of cargo tank inspector registrations.
- Develop and implement an oversight procedure at petroleum gas loading facilities.
Toxics Releases – and how to reduce them
1/31/18 EPA’s 2016 National Analysis on Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) is now available. In the past 10 years there has been a total reduction of 21% in air emissions. the largest reductions came from the electric utilities sector.
EPA says facilities can use the TRI data to learn best practices used by other companies and see if they can adopt additional methods for reducing pollution.
Reminder: Reporting of annual releases of TRI-listed chemicals for 2017 to the EPA are due by the deadline of July 1, 2018 from manufacturing, metal mining, utilities, and hazardous waste management industries. These facilities must also submit information on their pollution prevention and other waste management activities to the TRI program.
Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data from 2016 revealed:
- Most Toxics Releases were from metal mining operations onto the land.
- 5,900 new source reduction activities implemented at Industrial facilities reduced chemical waste.
- 87 percent of 28.80 billion pounds of chemical waste was not released into the environment due to recycling, energy recovery, and treatment – waste management practices.
- Greatest air release reductions were from electric utilities with Coal/Oil and paper manufactures
- Hydrochloric & sulfuric acid, toluene, and mercury were significantly reduced in air releases.
RECALL on Watercooler filling stations brands: Elkay & Halsey Taylor
1/29/18 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a recall on Elkay and Halsey Taylor brand water coolers and bottle filling stations distributed from May 2017 through June 2017 with serial numbers begin with 1704, 1705, or 1706. The internal screws that secure the grounding wire can break and allow the grounding wire to loosen, posing a shock hazard. No injuries have been reported, but over 350 reports of broken screws being found in units.
The recall affects approximately 31,500 units installed in public facilities such as schools and universities, office buildings, and airports.
CSPC says to immediately stop using the recalled water coolers and bottle filling stations, unplug the units, and contact Elkay for a free repair. For more information, go to www.checkmycooler.com.
Occupational Safety Health Management system ISO 45001 now internationally accepted!
1/29/18 A final version of ISO 45001 is expected to be published within a few weeks. This document is an Occupational health and safety management system standard, recently approved by countries around the world and likely be a game-changer in voluntary safety management standards.
ISO 45001 in most cases, will replace OHSAS 18001. Those currently conforming to OHSAS 18001 are expected to have a three-year transition period.
Most businesses have had to implement some sort of ISO standard either for quality, security, environmental management, or other. Because the ISO 45001 standard is designed to be compatible with other ISO standards, businesses that already implement an ISO standard will have a leg up if they decide to work toward ISO 45001 conformance.
ISO 45001 will providing a framework for employers to work with to improve safety and health and reduce risk.
ISO Compliance is not OSHA Compliance
In the ISO standards, the word “compliance” used throughout the document does not refer to “OSHA compliance”. OSHA has its own national and sometimes state standards that differ from ISO in that they may have more requirements than ISO lists or expect a higher level of a requirement for compliance.
To be ISO 45001 employers will need to implement systems and documents per the ISO standard and undergo evaluation to achieve certification. The benefits of ISO, however, can be significant from gaining a competitive edge in contract bidding to being able to conduct business overseas. Other benefits include lowered injury costs, improved productivity, and better employee participation in safety.
OSHA fines company for no prevention against bee sting death
1/26/18 In July 2017, the tree worker was watering a tree from the elevated bucket rig that disturbed a beehive. The bees swarmed and stung the worker, who went into anaphylactic shock and died.
Cal/OSHA issued four citations to the company totaling $41,310 in proposed penalties for workplace safety and health violations.
Cal/OSHA agency said employers are responsible for identifying and evaluating the hazards of their workplaces and providing appropriate personal protective equipment, safety protocols, and effective training to employees.
OSHA Fact Sheet describes controls for Silica Dust when using handheld power saws
1/26/18 OSHA recently released a number of guidance documents regarding Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction 29 CFR 1926.1153. A common hazard listed is the use of an 8” or less handheld power saw which generates dust that when inhaled over time can causes irreversible lung damage.
OSHA’s new Fact Sheet recommends the use of vacuum dust collection system (VDCS) adapted to the saw as an effective engineering control method that does NOT require respiratory protection when used outside. Indoor use is not considered the same exposure, and does require a respirator to be used.
Proper vacuum dust collection system (VDCS) is:
- A partially enclosed hand-held saw blade 8” or less integrated with dust collection port or adapter (commercial grade) installed according to manufacturer’s directions.
- A vacuum recommended by the manufacturer with air flow rated at 80 cubic feet per minute or higher at the cutting point.
- Filter exhaust with a 99 percent efficiency. HEPA filters can be used but are not required. For longer filter life, use of a disposable filter bag or cyclone pre-filter is recommended.
Asbestos containing materials can only be handled by certified contractors, otherwise fined
1/25/18 A Seattle hotel owner for exposing workers to asbestos knowingly. The owner testing cement -board ceiling tiles for Asbestos, and after determining hired regular contractors (instead of certified Asbestos abatement contractor) to remove the tiles, which exposed the workers to inhalation of Asbestos a known to cause cancer and other serious health problems.
The hotel owner was cited by the Department of Labor & Industries for 12 willful violations totaling $355,000. In Washington state, the citation money is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund.
OSHA says use of the device is medical treatment, not first aid
1/24/18 According to a newly published OSHA Letter of Interpretation, the use of a cold compression therapy device is medical treatment in some/certain cases and may need to be recorded on the OSHA Injury & Illness Log per regulations at §1904.7(b)(5)(ii). However, cold compression therapy devices in most cases are used in therapy department or offices performing physical therapy or occupational therapy which is not considered to be first aid treatment.
A case that results in medical treatment (work-related injury or illness), on the other hand, would need to be recorded on the employer’s Log.
Maximum penalty for posting violations increases to $34,169
1/24/18 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published the in the Federal Register on January 18, the annual updated penalty level adjusted for inflation, for no posting the “EEO is the Law” posters.
Department of Labor (DOL) announced penalties which take effect February 20, 2018.
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) — $169
- Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law — $12,934
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act — $20,521
Radon is the #1 cause of Lung Cancer in non-smokers: EPA alert for January
1/23/18 Over 21,000 deaths every year in the U.S. are directly caused by lung cancer from Radon. Radon is also the second leading cause of lung cancer overall.
EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General urge all Americans to test their schools, workplaces and homes.
Take action to protect against Radon exposure:
- Contact your state’s Radon program or an environmental consultants for more information.
- Use EPA’s “Building Radon Out: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build Radon-Resistant Homes,” at epa.gov/radon.
Chemical Hazard Pocket Guide revision
1/22/18 Public feedback is being requested on the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. The guide, informs readers on recommended exposure limits, protective clothing, and first aid measures for 677 chemicals that are commonly found in the work environment. Workers, employers, occupational health professionals, and emergency responders use the guide as a reference in emergencies. Employers often use the guide to help control workplace exposures to hazardous chemicals. This guide is created by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and this year is its 40th anniversary in publication, now available on the web and as a phone app.
NIOSH plans to update the NIOSH Guide to Chemical Hazards by add more chemicals and skin exposure information for reference.
The two new design layouts and sizes developed for the print version are available for feedback from anyone who uses the book and to say why is important to them. NIOSH will use the comments to redesign the 40th anniversary edition of the Pocket Guide.
- The Institute wants to know if guide users agree or disagree with the following statements:
- It’s important to keep the current size and layout of the Pocket Guide (3 x 7 inches).
- An 8 x 10-inch version of the guide would be just as useful as the current version.
- The text size and placement of information in the current version is adequate.
- Adding more color would be helpful for following the information.
- Keeping the placement of information in a consistent format is important.
- Adding new information such as skin notations and additional chemicals would make the guide more valuable.
- The printed version of the guide is not a primary resource, but it is important for some uses.
The blog further presents examples of its current layout and alternate layouts the Institute is considering. NIOSH seeks feedback on the final design and asks users to explain what they like and don’t like about each layout along with features or content NIOSH should consider adding.
Visit the NIOSH Science Blog to read and comment.
300-A Summary must be posted for employees from Feb 1st – Apr 31st
1/17/18 Employers who keep OSHA workplace injury and illness records (OSHA 300 logs) are required to review and create their 300-A Annual Summary and post it within employee notice areas, no later than February 1st and it must remain in place until April 30th.
- A company executive (one of the below) must certify the 300-A Summary is correct and complete.
- An owner of the company;
- An officer of the corporation;
- The highest ranking company official working at the establishment; or
- The immediate supervisor of the highest ranking company official working at the establishment.
Agency offers two-year timeline
1/12/18 The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will soon adopt a new and revised Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scoring system, per Joe DeLorenzo, director of FMCSA’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement, and will over a 2 year period implement safety recommendations issued to the department by National Academy of Sciences (NAS) from 2017.
One recommendations are a new statistical model known as Item Response Theory (IRT) which assesses a motor carriers overall “safety culture,” and can be used to monitor and identify carriers for interventions. The data is more reliable, higher quality and more easily understood than the existing SMS.
The following is the FMCSA’s timeline for implementing changes to the SMS:
- Now:Initiate project, gather information
- Spring 2018:Data analysis
- Summer-Winter 2018:Small-scale IRT modeling
- Winter 2018-Summer 2019:Full-scale IRT modeling
- Summer-Fall 2019:Evaluation and implementation of the plan
Owner faces manslaughter charges in workers death
1/12/18 For the first time in Washington state an employer has been charged with a felony for a workplace fatality. The worker was in a 7 foot high trench without a system (safety regulations) in place to prevent the sides from caving in and collapsing, which is what buried and killed him.
- Willful violation of $35,000 – for not ensuring that trenches were safe.
- Serious violation $3,500 – not having a accident prevention plan to address hazards of trenching
- Serious violation $3,500 – not having a ladder other means of exiting the trench
- Serious violation $3,000 – not supporting sidewalks to protect against possible collapse
- Serious violation $3,000 – keeping heavy dirt/materials less than 2 feet from trench edge
- Serious violation $3,500 – not inspecting daily soil conditions
- Cave-ins from trenching work kill at least two dozen workers each year in the United States.
Department of Labor says: “It is the responsibility of companies to keep workers safe on the job, and the serious consequences if they knowingly didn’t. This company knew what the safety risks and requirements were, and ignored them.”
OSH surveillance needs to use current technology and methods to improve
1/10/18 The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine say the Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) surveillance approaches are outdated. Stating that the United States has “changed remarkably over the past several decades,” but unfortunately the OSH surveillance system has not.
They produced a Report to point out actions, improvements, and coordination using the current technology and data available today that would create a cost-effective and more accurate OSH surveillance system.
The Report is titled “A Smarter National Surveillance System for Occupational Safety and Health in the 21st Century”.
FMCSA not accepting old forms (MCS-150), must use current forms
1/09/18 The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
As of February 4, 2018 will no longer accept expired paper versions of:
Forms can be found on: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/registration-forms
It will also accept: forms prepared by MCMIS
Chemical Safety Board (CSB) find may Chemical Releases happen unknowingly
1/08/18 U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) study examined a 2016 chlorine gas chemical release that occurred from 2 materials being mixed unknowingly in a Kansas processing plant. The toxic chemical release sent 140+ people to the hospital. Thousands were forced to evacuate and others were told to shelter-in-place.
Report identifies 11 major safety issues, some of the most relevant listed below:
- Need for better chemical transfer equipment
- Capped lines were not clearly marked
- No automated and remote shut-off systems
- No chemical unloading procedures
- No safe guards to prevent human error
- No training given
- Improper ventilation
The CSB also provides solutions to prevent mixing incidents at similar facilities across the country.
Report title: “Key Lessons for Preventing Inadvertent Mixing During Chemical Unloading Operations”
The safety video detailing the events is available to view. Both can be found on: www.csb.gov.
ELDs and CDL drivers need to KNOW
1/08/18 Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) gave the following updated inspection bulletins to Certified Roadside Inspectors this January:
2 New Inspection Bulletins:
- 2017-05 – Hand-Held and Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) Inspection Bulletin
- 2017-04 – Medical Certification Information Available in Nlets Inspection Bulletin
Updated its existing bulletin:
- 2012-05 – Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs) Inspection Bulletin; and
- 2018-01 – Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Agreement Enforcement Bulletin for 2018 Registration Year.
These bulletins are available on: http://cvsa.org/inspections/inspections/inspection-bulletins/
Small boats/vessels in 2018 will now require Discharge Permits
1/05/18 All Boats and Vessels less than 79 feet in length are now required to obtain a permit for normal operation discharges called “incidental discharges”, per the Clean Water Act – Senate Bill S. 2444 now in effect as of January. Incidental discharges include ballast water, bilgewater, graywater (e.g., water from sinks, showers), and deck washdown and runoff.
EPA requires vessels greater than 79 feet in length must obtain a permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Additionally, commercial vessels of all sizes that discharge ballast water must apply for permits.
OSHA’s portal accepting 300-A Summary information for year 2017
1/04/18 Summary 300-A for year 2016 had a delayed deadline of December 31st, 2017 to be submitted, but is now closed for edits but available for viewing.
OSHA is now accepting 300-A Summary for year 2017, with the deadline to submit of: July 1, 2018.
Not all establishments are required to report:
- Only businesses with 250 or more employees
- Only businesses with 20-249 employees in specified high hazard industries are also covered by the requirement.
OSHA’s ITA website is not accepting 300 Log and 301 Incident Report information at this time. The reason is the Agency plans to propose a rule to reconsider, revise, or remove this final rule, and therefore not require submission.
However, individual States may over-rule this and require the businesses within its state to submit 300 Log and 301 Incident Report information to the state regardless of OSHA’s national final rule.
OSHA Outreach Training Program requirement changes in effect April 1, 2018
1/04/18 OSHA recently revised its Outreach Training Program requirements with substantial and minor changes and warns all OSHA Authorized Outreach trainers to review and follow the new program requirements, procedures, and related guidance for April 1, 2018.
One of the biggest changes to the program is a reduction of the delivery of the required “Introduction to OSHA” module (which includes rights, responsibilities, and how to file a complaint) from 2 hours to 1 hour.
The training is voluntary, however some states, employers, and unions require this it to fulfill safety goals.
DOT warns – DO NOT REFILL of 39 type cylinder containers
1/03/18 Many types of Propane cylinders are designed to be refilled, but a DOT 39 cylinder of any size is strictly nonrefillable. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) produced the video and poster to caution the public to never refill DOT 39 cylinders, such as the one-pound cylinders used for camping.
Hazardous incidents have been reported with regard to the refilling of 39 cylinders, including a fatality.
Questions on refilling any cylinder may be directed to a qualified refiller or PHMSA’s HAZMAT Info Center at (800) 467-4922 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) fees are lower than previous years
1/02/18 In February, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will adopt the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) registration fees for 2018, 2019, and beyond.
The 2018 registration fees have been reduced by 9.10 % compared to previous years.
Number of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) owned or operated by exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder
2017 and prior year fees per entity for exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder
2018 fees per entity for exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder
2019 fees per entity for exempt or non-exempt motor carrier, motor private carrier, or freight forwarder
1,001 and above
OSHA Fines increase in January
1/02/18 Every year OSHA and the Department of Labor increase penalties with the current inflation.
OSHA’s adjusted penalties after January 2, 2018, are shown in table.
Type of violation
Penalty amounts prior to Jan. 2, 2018
Penalty amounts after Jan. 2, 2018
Willful violation, minimum
Willful violation, maximum
Failure to correct violation
Posting requirement violation
Industry News: JANUARY 2018
Contract with Facility Support Services to work towards making your safety program more complete and compliant.
OSHA Fines for workplace violations increase as of January 3rd, 2018
12/29/17 Every year OSHA and the Department of Labor increase penalties with the current inflation.
OSHA’s adjusted penalties after January 2, 2018, are shown in table.
Type of violation
Jan. 2, 2018
Willful violation, minimum
Willful violation, maximum
Failure to correct violation
Posting requirement violation
12/29/17 Court gives EPA 90 days to update Lead Dust & Lead Paint standards
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the EPA 90 days to act on a rule making concerning Lead dust hazard and Lead paint standards. The decision was based on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 to update standards given the science tested effects of lead on children and the public.
In 1990’s the science determined the safe Blood Lead Level (BLL) was 10 micrograms per deciliter, but in 2007 and 2012 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that 5 micrograms per deciliter also effected children significantly to trigger a public health response.
EPA had said it “might be ready” to issue a final rule by 2023, which is a 14 year delay. The panel found this delay in the rule making to be unreasonable, considering the health risk to the overall populations current daily exposure.
The EPA must:
- Produce a proposed rule within 90 days;
- Produce the final rule within 1 year of the proposed rule.
12/29/17 Court rejects challenges to OSHA’s tougher Silica standards
On December 22nd the D.C. Appeals Court rejected five challenges to the Silica rulemaking, allowing it to stand.
In 2016, OSHA promulgated the rule, which lowered the permissible exposure limit (PEL) to 50 μg/m3 for all covered industries, including the foundry, hydraulic fracturing, brick, and construction industries, who had led the legal challenge. Employers must assess silica exposure levels in the workplace (or, for certain construction industry tasks, adopt specific “safe-harbor” practices) and, if necessary, implement engineering and work practice controls to keep exposures below the PEL. If engineering and work practice controls cannot reduce exposures to the PEL, the employer must provide respirator protections.
The Silica Rule also established provisions including housekeeping requirements and medical surveillance.
The rule had been challenged by both industry, who argued the rule was too tough to comply with, and labor, who said the rule did not go far enough to protect workers.
The court sided with OSHA and labor, holding that the rule was appropriate based on a true risk assessment. The court found that the rule does not threaten industry financially or otherwise, and thought it did not go far enough on “medical removal protection,” such as:
- Permanent removal for workers who become sick from exposure to silica,
- Removal to alleviate COPD symptoms, and
- Temporary removal while a determination is made.
- The medical removal protection was not mandated by the court, but OSHA is expected to provide a better explanation as to why it is not part of the Standard.
- October 2017 – The Silica final rule’s requirements are already in effect in the construction industry
- June 23, 2018 – General industry and maritime go into effect
- June 23, 2018 – Employers are required to offer medical examinations to employees exposed above the PEL for 30 or more days a year
- June 23, 2020 – Employers are required to offer medical examinations to employees exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days a year.
- June 23, 2018 – Hydraulic fracturing in the oil and gas industry have industry specific requirements (see regulation) that go into effect.
12/27/2017 Commercial Drivers drug testing changes take effect January 1, 2018
Several drug testing procedures in 49 CFR Part 40 are changing for commercial drivers according to Department of Transportation (DOT). It will add four opioids (hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone) to the list of drugs to test individuals and screen for in prescription drugs.
When a prohibited drug is found in an employee’s prescription drugs, the medical review officer (MRO) will determine if it is a safety risk and verify whether it was legally prescribed. The driver will be given five days to contact the prescribing physician about getting another medication that mitigates the concerns.
12/22/2017 EPA signs final rule for e-Manifest system and fees, June 2018 launch
On December 20, EPA head Scott Pruitt signed the final rule establishing user fees for the e-Manifest system. Which was the last item on the to-do list before the e-Manifest system could be up and running.
Hazardous waste manifests are required whenever hazardous waste is shipped from a generator’s site to its final disposal destination. EPA has been working to modernize the paper-based manifest system from 2012 to the projected launch date of June 30, 2018.
The EPA needed to finalize a collection fee for hazardous waste manifest users to recover the costs of the systems initial development and future use.
Key issues included:
- Who must pay e-Manifest user fees;
- What types of transactions give rise to fees;
- What formula EPA is using to set fees;
- What the available options are for users to make their fee payments;
- What process EPA will follow to revise user fees; and
- What the sanctions are for non-payment.
- What are the fees?
The fees listed are only estimates, since the EPA does not have a finalized budget for this program, nor a finalized contract to put the system into place. EPA will publish a final two-year schedule of user fees on the e-Manifest website when more information becomes available.
Fee estimates by manifest type:
Manifest submission type
Year 1 fee (estimated)
Data file uploads
Electronic manifests (includes hybrid)
12/18/17 Fatal workplace injuries shows upward trend for 3rd year in a row, per Census
A total of 5,190 people lost their lives at work in the U.S. within 2016, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on December 19, 2017. This is a 7% increase over 2015 and third consecutive increase in annual workplace fatalities.
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries – uses state, federal, and independent data to identify, verify, and describe fatal work injuries:
- Transportation incidents remained the most common fatality in 2016 (accounting for 40%)
- Violence and injuries by people or animals increased 23% in 2016 (2nd highest work fatality)
- Fatal work injuries involving violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased by 163 cases to 866 in 2016.
- Workplace homicides increased by 83 cases to 500 in 2016
- Workplace suicides increased by 62 to 291. This is the highest homicide figure since CFOI began reporting data in 1992.
- Overdoses from drugs or alcohol while on the job increased 32% in 2016. Fatal overdose increased by minimum of 25% annually since 2012.
- Exposure to harmful substances rose 22%
- Deaths from fires and explosions declined 27%
- Slips, trips or fall injuries increasing 6% to 849 total in 2016. Falls increased more than 25% for roofers, carpenters, tree trimmers and pruners, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.
12/18/17 Federal government plans for more deregulation
The federal government announced its “Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions” from Fall 2017 and 2018.
OSHA’s Fall 2017 Rule List:
Communication Tower Safety
Mechanical Power Presses Update
Powered Industrial Trucks
Blood Lead Level for Medical Removal
Amendments to the Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard
Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Exemption Expansions for Railroad Roadway Work
Puerto Rico State Plan
Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
Occupational Exposure to Beryllium
Standards Improvement Project IV
Quantitative Fit Testing Protocol: Amendment to the Final Rule on Respiratory Protection
Rules of Agency Practice and Procedure Concerning OSHA Access to Employee Medical Records
Crane Operator Qualification in Construction
Technical Corrections to 16 OSHA Standards
Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
Plan for 2018:
- Better than 2:1.S. Agencies plan to finalize 3 deregulatory actions for every new 1 regulatory action.
- 1,579 withdrawn or delayed actions.From Fall 2016 to Fall 2017:
- 635 regulations were withdrawn from the Unified Agenda.
- 244 regulations were made inactive.
- 700 regulations were added to the long-term list.
- System upgrade. better search feature in regulatory database
OSHA’s Long-term actions list:
- Occupational injury and illness recording and reporting requirements — musculoskeletal disorders column;
- Infectious diseases;
- Process safety management and prevention of major chemical accidents;
- Shipyard fall protection — scaffolds, ladders, and other working surfaces;
- Emergency response and preparedness;
- Update to the Hazard Communication Standard;
- Tree Care Standard; and
- Prevention of workplace violence in health care and social assistance.
12/18/2017 OSHA to accept 2016 Form 300A e-reporting until December 31, 2017
OSHA will continue accepting 2016 OSHA Form 300A data through the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) until midnight on December 31, 2017 and not take enforcement action against employers who submit their reports before December 31.
12/15/2017 Oregon OSHA extends comment period on the Worker Protection Standard for Pesticide till January 31, 2018.
Federal EPA’s pesticide Worker Protection Standard, sets new restrictions for the application of outdoor pesticides when workers or others are adjacent to the outdoor application areas. These restrictions are intended to prevent contamination due to pesticide spray drift. Companies within the industry had a number of objections that they wanted considered before the final passing of regulation, and therefore the extended comments period was provided.
12/5/2017 Winter survival tips for commercial motor vehicle driver
Drivers should prepare in advance to be able to handle all winter conditions, especially dangerously icy roads, blinding blizzard and other safety issues.
A winter survival kit should at a minimum consist of:
- snow brush and scraper,
- traction devices,
- brightly colored cloth,
- blankets/sleeping bag,
- extra food and water,
- extra medications (if necessary), and
- proper outerwear (extra coat, gloves, hat, boots).
What to do if the vehicle is Snowbound:
- If the vehicle is stranded in snowstorm, never leave the vehicle for assistance unless help is within 100 yards, because it is easy to become disoriented in blowing and drifting snow.
- Hang a brightly colored cloth outside the vehicle to remain visible.
- Run the vehicle’s engine (with the heater) for about 10 minutes every hour to keep warm, but open a window slightly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Make sure the vehicle’s exhaust pipe is clear and free of snow also, to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Retain body heat with blankets/etc, and keep your body actively moving to avoid hypothermia which starts with uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, and drowsiness.
12/5/2017 Connecticut contractor exposed workers to Mercury, penalty $329,548.
Construction workers issued a complaint about being exposed to high levels of mercury during a boiler demolition. OSHA said the employer had not evaluated the respirator program’s effectiveness in protecting workers against exposures and did not identify or correct any respirator problems.
Exposure to mercury can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and kidneys.
OSHA cited the company for two (2) willful and six (6) serious violations concerning: mercury, respirator, protective clothing, and sanitary conditions.
12/4/2017 Position for Head of OSHA has been open since January of 2017
The U.S. Senate Committee has scheduled a December 5, 2017 confirmation hearing on Scott A. Mugno’s bid to serve as the new head of OSHA.
Mugno is currently the Vice President for Safety, Sustainability, and Vehicle Maintenance at FedEx Ground in Pittsburgh, PA and was prior to that Managing Director for FedEx Express, Corporate Safety, Health, and Fire Protection in Memphis, TN.
Mugno has legal experience as a Division Counsel at Westinghouse Electric Corp Waste Isolation Division and as Judge Advocate for the Eastern Region U.S. Army Military Traffic Management, as well as legal positions in the U.S. Army JAG Corps.
12/1/2017 OSHA sited road construction for willful violation, penalty $70,000
On December 10, 2015, an OSHA inspector drove by and witnessed a road construction crew in LaPorte, TX, with a ladder sticking out of an unprotected trench. The inspector conducted an inspection of the worksite and found the walls of the unprotected trench were almost vertical and over the employee’s head. No precautions were taken against injury to the employee, regardless of the company’s safety plan or the high likelihood of serious injury or death.
Section 1926.652(a) requires contractors to protect employees from cave-ins by an adequate protective system in excavations of 5 feet or more. The excavation in this case was 8.5 feet deep and 13 feet wide, with near vertical walls with no sloping.
The judge would not credit the company for good faith based on the supervisor’s awareness that the excavation was unsafe.