OSHA Watch – Duncan Financial Group
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June 12, 2024
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OSHA Watch

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OSHA Watch

Final rule updating Hazard Communication standard released

Effective July 19, 2024, the final rule aligns primarily with the seventh revision of the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. The current hazard communications standard aligns with the third revision. Changes to the standard include:

    1. Revised criteria for classification of certain health and physical hazards
    2. Revised provisions for updating labels
    3. New labeling provisions for small containers
    4. New provisions related to trade secrets and technical amendments related to the contents of safety data sheets
    5. Related revisions to definitions of terms used in the standard

Compliance deadlines

    1. Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors must update labels and SDSs for substances by Jan. 19, 2026.
    2. Employers must update workplace labels, hazard communication programs, and training as necessary for substances by July 20, 2026.
    3. Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors must update labels and SDSs for mixtures by July 19, 2027.
    4. Employers must update workplace labels, hazard communication programs, and training as necessary for mixtures by January 19, 2028.

Until those dates, employers, chemical manufacturers, distributors, and importers can comply with either the old or new standard, or both, during the transition period.

Final Top 10 most frequently cited standards for fiscal year 2023

The ranking is unchanged from preliminary data released Oct. 24, as Fall Protection – General Requirements remains atop the list, where it has been for 13 consecutive fiscal years.

    1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 7,188 violations
    2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 3,227
    3. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,950
    4. Scaffolding (1926.451): 2,835
    5. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 2,550
    6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 2,539
    7. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,493
    8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 2,109
    9. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1916.102): 2,064
    10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,635
Rulemaking on heat hazards moves forward

See the article, Heat protection update: OSHA standard nears, new resources, and new studies for details as well as new heat-related resources released.

Heat photo contest

Following the success of last year’s Beat the Heat contest, a photo contest is underway to help showcase effective heat safety in action. Participants can submit up to a maximum of 5 photographs and the deadline for submissions is July 19, 2024.

Changes to regional offices

A new regional office will open in Birmingham, AL to oversee agency efforts in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, the Florida Panhandle as well as Alabama. Regions 9 and 10 will be merged into a new San Francisco Region to improve operations and reduce operating costs. Seven of the eight states in those two regions are State Plan states.

As part of the changes, its regions will be renamed based on geography, replacing the current practice of assigning numbers to regions:

    OLD NUMBER, NEW NAME
    Region 1, Boston Region
    Region 2, New York City Region
    Region 3, Philadelphia Region
    Region 4, Atlanta Region
    Region 5, Chicago Region
    Region 6, Dallas Region
    Region 7, Kansas City Region
    Region 8, Denver Region
    Region 9, San Francisco Region
    Region 10, Birmingham Region

The changes are expected to be finalized before October 1, 2024. A copy of the map can be found here.

New mission statement

Announced May 15, the new mission statement reads:

“OSHA’s mission is to assure America’s workers have safe and healthful working conditions free from unlawful retaliation. OSHA carries out its mission by setting and enforcing standards; enforcing anti-retaliation provisions of the OSH Act and other federal whistleblower laws; providing and supporting training, outreach, education, and assistance; and ensuring state OSHA programs are at least as effective as federal OSHA, furthering a national system of worker safety and health protections.”

The previous mission statement was:

“The mission of OSHA is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.”

New video on how to wear, maintain, and store safety helmet

A new video explains how to properly wear, maintain, and store a safety helmet to prevent serious head injuries.

Safety shuffle challenge

The Safety Shuffle challenges employers to have managers and workers do a temporary “job swap” to help them better understand worksite hazards and identify hazards a person who routinely does the job might miss. The program consists of three steps – identify the most hazardous jobs, establish a small group of managers and employees who swap and observe, and then review and discuss.

Aggressive inspection activity under Warehousing NEP

In just seven months of establishing a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to evaluate warehousing and distribution center operations, there have been 623 inspections and proposed $2.4 million in penalties. Powered industrial truck (including forklift) violations were cited the most for lack of operator training and poor maintenance.

Updated information on bird flu

The Avian Influenza webpage has been updated with recently issued CDC interim recommendations for worker protection and use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

State plans

Cal/OSHA
Campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of silica dust launched; ETS extended

Available in English and Spanish, a new website provides information for workers and employers to help prevent silicosis. The website has three sections – for workers, employers, and FAQs.

The Standards Board unanimously voted to adopt a proposed readoption of the Silica Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for another 90 days, to September 24, 2024, with the following changes:

    1. Two new exemptions to the definition of “high exposure trigger tasks” include outdoor work at quarries or open pit mines and fabrication or finishing of natural stone tombstones, monuments, memorials, burial vaults, and sculptures. Exceptions do not apply to artificial stone.
    2. Added an assigned protection factor for respirators required for high-exposure trigger tasks to simplify selection of acceptable respirators.
    3. Removed requirement for organic vapor cartridge, leaving a requirement for HEPA filter only.

The Silica ETS is expected to be replaced with a permanent regulation. Proposed language is currently in its 45-day comment period, with a public hearing set for June 20, 2024.

Indoor heat standard status

The proposal to exempt certain correctional facilities from the entire regulation is expected to be presented to the Standards Board for a vote at the June 20 meeting. If approved, the Office of Administrative Law has 30 working days to review. It is estimated the regulation could be in effect by July or August.

Fit-testing protocols for respiratory protection

The Standards Board unanimously voted to adopt proposed amendments to the Respiratory Protection standard, which include additional fit-testing protocols to Appendix A of Section 5144, to match the federal standard.

Worker Walkaround Rule

Given the requirement to adopt standards that are at least as effective as the federal standards, staff is working on adopting something like the federal Worker Walkaround Rule.

Workplace violence prevention plan deadline approaching

By July 1, 2024, almost all employers, with a few exceptions, must develop and implement a workplace violence prevention plan (“WVPP”) that satisfies the minimum requirements under California Labor Code section 6401.9. For more information, click here.

MIOSHA
Asbestos protection

Gov. Whitmer signed into law Public Act 17 of 2024 to add asbestos-specific language to the Occupation Safety and Health Act. The new law amends definitions, defines a case closing date for asbestos-related violations, extends an employer’s citation history for repeat violations to five years, and sets criteria for penalty reduction. The effective date of PA 17 of 2024 is June 10.

Hazard alert on portable ladders

Falls involving portable ladders caused 84 on-the-job deaths from 2001 to 2021 in Michigan, prompting a new hazard alert from Michigan State University.

Agency Instructions Issued

April 24, 2024 – Oil and Gas Drilling and Servicing Operations – State Emphasis Program (SEP)

April 24, 2024 – Pyrotechnics Manufacture, Storage, Sale, Handling, Use, and Display

April 24, 2024 – Coordination of Enforcement and Consultation Interventions

May 2, 2024 – Permit-Required Confined Spaces (PRCS) Standard in General Industry

Bird flu emergency order

Recent cases of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), commonly called “bird flu” at commercial poultry facilities and dairy farms in the state have prompted the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to issue an emergency order asking food producers to implement robust biosecurity practices and create emergency preparedness plans. A MDARD Staff Biosecurity Information and Checklist for Poultry and Cattle Farms outlines how to protect staff.

Training and course calendar
2024 Worker fatalities

MNOSHA
Dual-Training Pipeline 101 Webinar

Intended for people new to Pipeline as well as those who would like a refresher about the program, the webinar will be on June 25, 2024, from 9 to 10 a.m.

Click here for more information regarding the webinar and information on industry forums.

Click here to read serious injury investigation summaries online.

Recent fines and awards

California

    Two mushroom farms must pay back wages and damages following an investigation for unsafe housing conditions. Concord Farms will pay more than $403,000 and California Terra Gardens will pay more than $126,000.

Florida

    Melbourne-based Circles of Care Inc. was cited for a repeat violation and an other-than-serious violation for various safety and health failures with $101,397 in proposed penalties. The citations relate to an attack on a mental health technician by a patient which resulted in serious injury and hospitalization.

Georgia

    Hahir-based Landmark Erecting Inc., a construction contractor, faces $46,550 in penalties after a 31-year-old employee suffered a fatal fall at a worksite in Arcadia, Florida. They were cited for a repeat violation for not ensuring workers used fall protection as they walked along a roof frame, a serious violation for failing to ensure the availability of accessible medical treatment, and an other-than-serious violation for not reporting a work-related fatality within eight hours.

Illinois

    1. K.L.F. Enterprises, a Chicago demolition contractor, was cited for 36 safety and health violations related to asbestos hazards. The company had a building survey showing that a hospital it was demolishing contained asbestos for fireproofing, but the company did not inform the workers nor the general contractor. The company faces $392,002 in penalties. The general contractor, Reed Construction, was cited for not ensuring its subcontractors met federal health and safety standards and faces $32,262 in penalties. Two other contractors on the worksite also face asbestos violation-related penalties – V. Covington was cited for a serious violation and issued a proposed penalty of $16,131 and Lansing-based Alliance Environmental was issued a citation for a serious violation with a proposed penalty of $6,452.
    2. Waukegan-based roofer Joshua Herion and his company, ECS Roofing Professionals Inc., which had been cited nine times for exposing employees to falls from roofs, has agreed to pay $365,576 in penalties after OSHA moved to seize the company’s assets.
    3. A follow-up workplace safety inspection at Chicago-based Gerresheimer Glass Inc. revealed that the company failed to comply with recommended actions from previous inspections and continued to violate machine safety standards. The company was cited with one repeat and four serious violations and assessed $145,415 in penalties.

Massachusetts

    1. Sky Safety Inc., an East Boston window cleaning company, was cited for willfully exposing employees to fall hazards by not ensuring personal fall protection systems and a rope descent system were in proper working condition. An employee fell 29 stories to his death. The company received two willful, four serious, and two repeat violations, and was assessed $447,087 in proposed penalties.
    2. A Watertown roofing contractor, OJR Construction Inc. was cited with one willful and 10 serious violations and assessed $88,721 in proposed penalties after an employee fell and suffered fatal injuries as they tried to carry materials and climb a ladder jack scaffold.

Minnesota

    St. Cloud-based Pan-O-Gold Baking Co., which operates as Village Hearth was cited for two repeat, six serious and two other-than-serious violations, totaling $262,953 in penalties, after an employee was seriously injured while adjusting a sensor in a bread pattern forming machine at a Sun Prairie, Wisconsin plant.

Missouri

    St. Louis-based 13 Construction & Pro Services LLC was cited for six willful and 20 serious violations, and proposed $258,063 in penalties, following inspections at six Wentzville residential work sites. The company has contested the violations, which relate to fall protection, ladder use, and PPE.

Nebraska

    Rail Modal Group LLC received 21 serious and two other-than-serious violations related to fall protection, permit-required confined spaces, machine guarding, powered industrial trucks, grain handling, and hazard communication after a yard manager was struck by a semi-tractor-trailer and suffered severe injuries at a Fremont grain yard. The company faces $261,375 in penalties.

South Carolina

    Detyens Shipyards Inc., a North Charleston ship repair and servicing company, was cited for willfully exposing workers to fall hazards by permitting them to access platform levels without adequate guardrails after an employee fell 20 feet from an unguarded side of a small platform inside a fuel tank on a U.S. Navy ship. The company faces $190,130 in penalties.

For more information, click here.
To learn more about what these OSHA updates mean to you financially, schedule an appointment with one of our financial professionals.