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.

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As the mining industry continues to wait for any new direction at MSHA to reveal itself, last week, MSHA published a request for information (RFI) in the Federal Register that could be the beginning of a new rulemaking on powered haulage equipment. The RFI covers aspects of both surface and underground mines, as well as both coal and metal/non-metal.

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15 months after it first published a rule dramatically changing how workplace examinations will be done on every shift at every metal/non-metal mine, MSHA today published a final amended version of that rule. Despite a litigation challenge and widespread concerns raised by stakeholders, the final rule maintains many of the same provisions as originally introduced. The new rule takes effect June 2, 2018.

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