Need OSHA Action on Ammonium Nitrate and Healthcare Workplace Violence, Government Monitor Urges

Focus is needed on two safety and health priorities: healthcare workplace violence and high-risk facilities that handle hazardous substances such as ammonium nitrate, chief of the Government Accountability Office Gene L. Dodaro has urged Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta in a letter. To read my full article, click here.

OSHA Suspends ITA Due to Security Breach

On Monday we blogged about the availability of the new OSHA Injury Tracking Application (“ITA”) that serves as the web portal for the submission of injury and illness information (300 Logs, 301 Forms and 300A Forms) under OSHA’s “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule (aka Electronic Recordkeeping rule).  Yesterday, OSHA suspended user access to the ITA  after the Department of Homeland Security notified the Department of Labor of a potential compromise of user information. It appears that only one company has been affected by this breach of security and that company has been notified.

OSHA is currently working with the ITA developer to determine the extent of the problem and the potential impact to the portal. Users trying to access the portal will find an alert noting, “due to technical difficulties with the website, some pages are temporarily unavailable.” It is unclear whether this security breach will impact or further delay the compliance date for the submission of employer injury and illness information, which is December 1, 2017.

We will provide updated information once we know more.

 

OSHA Launches Injury Tracking Application

On August 1, 2017, OSHA finally launched its web portal to accept submission of recordkeeping forms pursuant to the requirements in the final rule, “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.”  Under the rule, which was promulgated in May 2016, OSHA originally anticipated having the portal available by February 1, 2017, with submissions due by employers no later than July 1, 2017.  In May, OSHA delayed the launch of the portal until August 1, 2016.  While the web portal is now available, submission of recordkeeping forms is currently not required. OSHA has requested public comments on the proposed submission compliance date of December 1, 2017. All signs point to a December 1, 2017 compliance deadline for employers to submit their recordkeeping forms.

Under the rule, submission for all employers for 2017 is simply the 2016 300A Form.  Beginning in 2018, employers required to maintain injury and illness records with 250 or more employees at an establishment they will be required to submit all recordkeeping forms – 300 Log, 301 Forms and 300A Form.  For employers required to maintain injury and illness records with less than 250 but 20 or more employees in certain industries will be required to submit only they 300A Form.

The portal is called Injury Tracking Application or ITA and will accept three forms of data submission. Employers can manually enter the information into the online form, upload a CSV file or transfer the data electronically using an application programming interface (API).

OSHA has provided employers with “job aids” to assist in the development of a user account, password and uploading the data and has provided additional information in the form of FAQs. We encourage covered employers to take the time to become familiar with the portal, establishing an account and to carefully review their injury and illness recordkeeping forms prior to submission.

OSHA Releases New Online Whistleblower Complaint Form for Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released a revised online whistleblower complaint form.

In an announcement, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt said, “Workers who report unsafe conditions and wrongdoing have a range of legal protections from retaliation. The revised online complaint form works to ensure whistleblowers file their complaints with the appropriate federal agency for prompt action.” To read my full article, click here.

OSHA Issues Safety Fact Sheet on Confined Spaces in Residential Construction

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a new fact sheet to assist residential construction employers in meeting safety standards in confined spaces, such as attics, basements, and crawl spaces. The Fact Sheet was developed in consultation with the National Association of Home Builders. To read my full article, click here.

OSHA Launches New Website for Electronically Filing Injury and Illness Reports

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new electronic portal, the Injury Tracking Application (ITA), where employers can file web-based reports of workplace injuries or illnesses, will be accessible beginning August 1, 2017.

Under OSHA’s electronic recordkeeping rule, covered companies with at least 250 employees must submit information electronically from:

  • OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses)
  • OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses)
  • OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report)

To read my full article, click here.

Rules to Come? Future Regulatory Agenda for OSHA

It’s that time of year again…when the federal government tells the regulated community what types of rulemaking initiatives that various agencies are undertaking for the year. Today, the semiannual regulatory agenda was published. This Regulatory Agenda provides a complete list of all regulatory actions that are under active consideration for promulgation, proposal, or review and covers regulatory actions for over 60 federal departments, agencies, and commissions.

The regulatory agenda for the Department of Labor includes a total of thirteen regulatory entries for OSHA specific actions.  In comparison, the regulatory agenda published in May 2016 had thirty two regulatory entries for OSHA specific actions. Additionally, sixteen agency actions have been removed completely from the current agenda, including Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), Combustible Dust, and Noise in Construction.  These initiatives have been classified as “completed actions” and for each initiative OSHA states, “OSHA is withdrawing this entry from the agenda at this time due to resource constraints and other priorities.” The removal of these initiatives from the agenda aligns with the Trump Administration’s goal of effective and less burdensome regulation. And other prior agency initiatives, such as Preventing Workplace Violence in Healthcare, Infectious Disease, and the Tree Care Standard have been classified as long term actions.

Of those initiatives remaining for OSHA, five of the thirteen rulemaking actions still are in the pre-rule stage.  At this stage, OSHA is simply gathering relevant information through stakeholder meetings or outreach measures.  The remaining eight regulatory actions are in the proposed rulemaking stage, and include rules that were promulgated and finalized under the Obama Administration and recently reopened under the Trump Administration, such as Occupational Exposure to Beryllium.

A summary of some of the regulatory actions under consideration by OSHA include:

 

RULE

 

ANTICIPATED AGENCY ACTION

 

Communication Tower Safety

 

Complete SBREFA in August 2017

 

Powered Industrial Trucks

 

Request for Information in December 2017

 

Lock-Out/Tag-Out Update

 

 

Request for Information April 2018

Mechanical Power Presses Update

Crane Operator Qualification in Construction

Request for Information in February 2018

 

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in July 2017

 

Blood Lead Level for Medical Removal

 

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in April 2018

 

Occupational Exposure to Beryllium

 

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Comment Period Ends August 2018

 

Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

 

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in October 2017

 The full federal Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan can be found online at:

http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaMain

OSHA Exempts Monorail Hoists from Cranes and Derricks Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a new enforcement policy that excludes monorail hoists from regulations on cranes and derricks in constructions.

Stakeholders had argued that monorail hoists are not the same as cranes and derricks in construction, pointing out that these hoists are attached to fixed monorails mounted on trucks, trailers, scaffolding systems, and other equipment. To read my full article, click here.

Construction Contractors Develop New Safety Helmets

Construction firms are developing new safety helmets designed to provide workers with better protection from falls and to curb fatal injuries, according to a report from Bloomberg BNA.

According to government researchers, from 2003 to 2010, 2,210 fatal traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occurred in the construction industry, a rate of 2.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Workers aged 65 and older had the highest fatal TBI rates among all workers, and falls were the most frequent cause. Workers in the structural iron and steel industries had the highest fatal TBI rates. To read my full article, click here.

OSHA Fall Protection Rule Raises Questions Over ‘Temporary, Relatively Infrequent’ Work

New questions are emerging about key provisions the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s updated rule to prevent falls.

Effective January 17, 2017, the final rule updating OSHA’s general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standards permits certain work near the edge of low-slope roofs without fall protection systems, as long as the work is “temporary, relatively infrequent.”  To read my full article, click here.

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