OSHA announced this month that it is clarifying, and effectively rolling back, portions of the injury and illness rule guidance it issued in 2016. The decision clarifies and walks back guidance that potentially penalized employers for certain drug testing policies and safety incentive programs.

Continue Reading OSHA rolls back guidance on drug testing and incentive programs

OSHA says it will increase enforcement with a revised National Emphasis Program (NEP) for trenching and excavation because of an increase in fatalities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, trenching and excavation deaths nearly tripled between 2011 and 2016 (130 deaths in all in that time). The revised NEP will add enforcement, compliance assistance, and outreach programs.

Continue Reading Digging in deeper: OSHA raises enforcement on trenching and excavation

Summer may now be over, but the debate over how OSHA should regulate worker exposure to heat – indoors and out – may be getting hotter. Over the summer, both the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and a coalition of private advocacy groups and individuals supported OSHA developing a heat stress standard. While OSHA has offered guidance on protecting workers from overheating and cited companies under the catch-all General Duty Clause, it does not currently have particular heat exposure limits or mandates.

Continue Reading NIOSH and private groups turn up the temperature on OSHA for a heat stress standard

With the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, occupational safety and health professionals may be interested in the impact he may have on future cases involving OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, MSHA, and the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act. Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week has shown him to be thoughtful and very well qualified (not to mention incredibly patient).  At this point, it seems apparent to all that he will soon be confirmed by the Senate.

Continue Reading What might a Justice Kavanaugh mean for OSHA and MSHA?

As the Trump Administration pursues its agenda of de-regulation, OSHA issued a policy memo recently, reversing course on a key part of its approach to the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). According to a May 30th memo, which revised a 2013 policy (“Memorandum #7”), OSHA will no longer automatically issue an Intent to Terminate Notice (ITT) to companies on VPP when certain events occur. Instead, the agency will take a more deferential and conciliatory approach to overseeing VPP participants. The changes implemented by the May 2018 memo took effect immediately.

Continue Reading Strengthening its cooperative approach, OSHA updates Voluntary Protection Program

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OSHA and a long list of public and private partners are promoting next week as Safe + Sound Week. The goal is to raise awareness about the value of integrated safety and health programs in workplaces. Companies looking to participate in local public events or hold their own can find resources and ideas at the OSHA Safe + Sound web site.

Continue Reading OSHA promotes next week as Safe + Sound week with ideas for your company

Last month, OSHA’s administrator for Region VII issued a press release announcing the agency’s intention to counter the increase in work-related fatalities in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. During the current fiscal year (Oct17-Sep18), OSHA has investigated 34 fatalities in these states.  Sadly, that number has continued to rise in the weeks since the press release was issued.  What can we learn from this announcement?

Continue Reading What fatal accidents are on the rise in OSHA Region VII?