OSHA Announces Enforcement Policy for Construction Silica Standard

In a memorandum issued today from Thomas Galassi, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary to OSHA Regional Administrators, OSHA has announced how it will handle enforcement of the new Silica Standard for the construction industry, which takes effect on September 23, 2017.

For the first 30 days of enforcement OSHA will not issue citations to those employers who, in good faith, are trying to comply with the requirements of the standard but are unable to reduce exposures below the new permissible exposure limit or are unable to fully comply with Table 1.  Instead, for those employers, OSHA will offer “compliance assistance and outreach” to help employers with “understanding and compliance” of the new standard.  Specifically, “OSHA will pay particular attention to assisting employers in fully and properly implementing the controls in the table.”

If during an OSHA inspection it appears that a particular employer is not making any efforts to comply with the standard, OSHA will conduct air monitoring and possible citations may be issued.

Additionally, the memorandum notes that OSHA will soon be issuing inspection and citation guidance for its compliance officers and that a compliance directive will follow.


OSHA Proposes to Extend Crane Operator Certification Requirement

In 2010 OSHA promulgated a final rule regulating cranes and derricks in the construction industry, Cranes and Derricks in Construction, Subpart CC (29 C.F.R. 1926.1400, et al.). Shortly after the final rule was issued OSHA published the Small Entity Compliance Guide on the new standard. Portions of the agency’s guidance created considerable conflict between OSHA and stakeholders involved in the use of cranes, including employers, unions, and firms that offer crane operator training and certification. Specifically, OSHA took the position that an operator is qualified to operator a crane if he is certified for the type and capacity of equipment or for higher-capacity equipment of that type.

In November 2012, the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) petitioned OSHA to reverse its interpretation and to amend the “capacity and type” language in 1926.1427(b)(1)(ii)(B) and 1926.1427(b)(1). Many within the industry believe that crane capacity should not be used as a factor for operator certification. In response to the IUOE’s petition and the concerns of the regulated industry, OSHA held stakeholder meetings in April 2013 to gather additional information. Following those stakeholder meetings, in May 2013 OSHA proposed to extend the compliance date for the crane operator certification and qualification requirements by three years to November 10, 2017.  After a public comment period on the proposed extension, in September 2014, OSHA announced that it was extending the crane operator certification requirements from November 10, 2014 to November 10, 2017, a three year extension. During this three-year period, it was the agency’s intention to develop a new standard that addressed operator qualification requirements including the role of operator certification.

Even if OSHA were to publish a proposed rule on crane operator certification today, the agency would not have enough time to solicit public comment and finalize a new rule by the current November 10, 2017 deadline.  So OSHA is now proposing to further delay the November 10, 2017 deadline by one year to November 10, 2018 to address the stakeholder concerns.

OSHA is accepting public comments until September 29, 2017.

OSHA Schedules Second Public Meeting on Voluntary Protection Programs

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has scheduled the second of two meetings to “reshape” the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) for August 28, 2017. The first meeting was held on July 17, 2017.

OSHA established the VPP on July 2, 1982, to promote cooperation between government, industry, and labor to improve worker safety, health, and protection.To read my full article, click here.

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:






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: