Mar 28, 2016

Supreme Court Upholds $5.8 Million Judgment for Employee Time to Change Into and Out of Safety Equipment

OSHA Issues Final Rule With More Stringent Silica Exposure Limit On March 24, 2016, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule, which among other things, significantly reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for workers’ exposure to respirable crystalline silica from 100 micrograms per cubic meter of air (averaged over an 8-hour shift) to 50 micrograms per cubic meter.  The new OSHA rule impacts a wide range of industries including construction, manufacturing, oil and gas production, and railroads.  In addition to the more stringent PEL, the new rule includes monitoring, training, record-keeping, housekeeping, and other requirements for… Read more

Jun 23, 2015

Chemical Safety Alert On Implementation of “Inherently Safer Technology” Issued by OSHA and EPA

On June 9, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an alert containing agency guidance for voluntary measures that can be taken to reduce risks and improve safety at chemical plants.  The alert is the first step in a three-step process outlined to implement Executive Order (EO)13650, issued by President Obama on August 1, 2013, in response to the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas that killed 14 people and injured about 200 others.  The next two steps will be formal agency guidance and then, after consideration of feedback from the alert and… Read more

Jun 23, 2014

Texting While Driving is an Employee Safety Issue

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death on the job, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, transportation incidents accounted for 42% of all fatal work injuries in 2012. And in our increasingly technological world, more texting leads to more crashes. With each additional 1 million text messages, fatalities from distracted driving rose more than 75%. Recently, OSHA reminded employers that they have a responsibility to protect their workers by prohibiting texting while driving.  It is a violation of the OSH Act if an employer requires workers… Read more

Apr 14, 2014

OSHA Inspectors Set High Beams on Auto Parts Manufacturers in the Southeast

If you are a motor vehicle parts manufacturer within Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, your probability of undergoing a comprehensive on-site Federal OSHA safety inspection within the next two years is virtually certain, according to the recently launched OSHA Region IV “Regional Emphasis Program for Safety in the Auto Parts Industry” (REP). The program, announced earlier this year, seeks to reduce workplace exposure to safety and health hazards in the motor vehicle parts supply industry, emphasizing the most common causes of injury and the most frequently cited violations, comprising lock out/tag out; machine guarding; and electrical-related hazards. In light of OSHA’s… Read more

Mar 21, 2014

OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard Gets an Update: Is Your Business Impacted?

By at least the summer of 2016, over 5 million workplaces and 43 million employees in the United States will be impacted by the newly revised federal Hazard Communication (HazCom) standard, the law governing employee warnings concerning the potential for hazardous chemical exposure.  In March 2012, OSHA, the agency charged with enforcement of worker health and safety laws, substantially revised the HazCom standard to adopt the United Nation’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) within the amended HazCom standard.  Among other reasons, the changes were intended by OSHA to require a more standardized means of classifying… Read more

Feb 7, 2014

OSHA Puts Spotlight on Worker Safety in Hospitals

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (“OSHA”) has launched a new educational web resource with materials designed “to help hospitals prevent worker injuries, assess workplace safety needs, enhance safe patient handling programs, and implement safety and health management systems.” OSHA asserts that hospitals can be one of the most hazardous places to work. In fact, in 2011, U.S. hospitals recorded almost twice the rate of work-related injuries and illnesses as private industry as a whole. In terms of lost-time case rates, it is more hazardous to work in a hospital than in construction or manufacturing, two industries that are traditionally… Read more

Oct 4, 2013

Training for Revised OSHA HAZCOM Must Be Completed by December 1

As a result of revisions to OSHA’s Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) regulations in 2012, MSDSs and product labels are being changed to more closely align with international standards.  As a result, OSHA has required employers to train their employees on the new labels and MSDSs (now referred to as Safety Data Sheets, or SDSs), no later than December 1, 2013.  Employers should revise training materials to incorporate the new label and SDS formats, and should conduct, and document, training of employees by December 1.  OSHA inspections after December 1 likely will check for compliance with the training requirements.  While the deadline… Read more

Aug 15, 2011

Regulatory Changes May Impact Remediation Activities

Two recent regulatory developments related to asbestos and lead paint remediation signal a change in federal regulation and enforcement, which may significantly impact businesses that operate in those spheres. First, following a tip-off from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued more than $1.2 million in penalties to AMD Industries Inc. in Cicero, Ill. for 19 alleged willful and eight serious violations resulting from removal of asbestos insulating materials from its boilers, heating units and connected piping. OSHA alleges that the company required five workers to remove asbestos containing materials without… Read more