March 18, 2014 • Volume 13, Issue 6
OSHA continues extensive public engagement on silica proposal: Public hearings on proposed silica rule begin today
OSHA has begun holding public hearings for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica. This marks the beginning of an intensive three weeks of public feedback on the proposal, with hearings scheduled through Friday, April 4, 2014.
"We look forward to receiving feedback from our stakeholders on our proposal, and we?re grateful for the continuing high level of public engagement throughout the rulemaking," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "This is an open process and the input we receive will help us ensure that a final rule adequately protects workers, is feasible for employers, and is based on the best available evidence."
Members of the public may attend to listen to testimony from OSHA and other hearing participants. To view the hearing schedule and procedures, visit www.osha.gov/silica. To view the proposed rule, visit the Federal Register. Additional information, including the public hearings schedule and hearing procedures, as well as FAQs, fact sheets, is available atwww.osha.gov/silica.
OSHA publishes new educational bulletin on recordkeeping requirements for temporary workers
OSHA has released a new educational bulletin for staffing agencies and host employers on current requirements for recording injuries and illnesses of temporary workers. The new Recordkeeping Bulletin (PDF*), which is part of OSHA?s Temporary Worker Initiative, addresses how to identify which employer is responsible for recording these work-related injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log.
"The Recordkeeping Bulletin is the first of many materials we are releasing and helps clarify which employers are responsible for reporting injuries and illnesses," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "These materials will provide valuable information for both host employers and staffing agencies on how they can work together to make sure their workers are properly trained and protected."
The temporary worker Recordkeeping Bulletin helps businesses determine which employer is responsible for recording work-related injuries and illness on the OSHA 300 log. For more information, read the news release and visit OSHA's temporary worker page.
Comment period extended to March 31 for information request on updates to chemical facility safety standards
OSHA is extending the public comment period on the request for information on potential revisions to its Process Safety Management standard and related standards for an additional 21 days to March 31, 2014. In response to requests for an extension, the deadline to submit written comments is being extended from March 10 to March 31 to allow stakeholders additional time to comment on the proposed rule and supporting analyses.
The RFI is in response to Executive Order 13650 (PDF*), which seeks to improve chemical facility safety and security, issued in the wake of the April 2013 West, Texas, tragedy that killed 15 in an ammonium nitrate explosion. OSHA is requesting comments on its Process Safety Management standard and potential changes to PSM enforcement policies, as well as input on potential updates to the agency?s Explosives and Blasting Agents, Flammable Liquids and Spray Finishing standards. For more information, read the press release.
Supreme Court rules whistleblower protections of Sarbanes-Oxley Act apply broadly to employees and contractors of publicly traded companies
On March 4, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of two former employees of privately held companies that provide advisory and management services to the Fidelity family of mutual funds, who claimed they faced retaliation after they reported allegations of fraud. The ruling asserts that the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act apply broadly to a public company's private contractors and subcontractors just as it protects employees of the public company served by the contractors and subcontractors.
"Whistleblower protections play a vital role in protecting the health, safety and financial wellbeing of all Americans," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels. "We are pleased that the Supreme Court reaffirmed the right of employees of a public company?s contractors to expose fraud and securities rule violations without fear of retaliation. The Labor Department is committed to protecting these critical whistleblower rights for workers."
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor vehicle, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws. For more information, visit www.whistleblowers.gov.
Atlanta frozen food manufacturer, staffing agency and service company all cited for failing to train and protect workers from serious ammonia and other hazards
OSHA has cited Schwan's Global Supply Chain Inc., which manufactures frozen foods sold under several brand names, including Red Baron pizza and Mrs. Smith's desserts, for 32 serious safety and health violations at its Atlanta facility. Two other companies providing maintenance and staffing services for Schwan's, including Cimco Refrigeration Inc. and Adecco USA Inc., were cited for 18 safety and health violations. Citations total $185,700 for Schwan?s, $58,500 for Adecco and $20,160 for Cimco.
"All workers, whether full-time or temporary, deserve the same commitment and access to a safe workplace. Schwan's, Cimco Refrigeration and Adecco are not providing that for their employees," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "OSHA standards are there to protect workers from predictable and preventable injuries and deaths. These standards were disregarded at the expense of worker safety."
OSHA?s inspection found that the employers failed to provide adequate training for employees, including temporary workers, to work safely with ammonia, a hazardous and corrosive chemical used in refrigeration. Schwan?s was also cited for exposing workers to serious fall, machine guarding, electrocution and noise hazards. Read the news release for more information on citations issued.
New educational resources: Hazard Communication: Small Entity Compliance Guide, fact sheet on work-related asthma
Two new OSHA resources, ?Hazard Communication: Small Entity Compliance Guide for Employers That Use Hazardous Chemicals? (PDF*) and a new fact sheet, ?Steps to an Effective Hazardous Communication Program for Employers That Use Hazardous Chemicals? (PDF*), offer employers clear steps to create an effective hazard communication program ? including a sample program and a quick guide to hazard communication training.
Also available is a new OSHA Fact Sheet, ?Do You Have Work-Related Asthma? A Guide for You and Your Doctor? (PDF*) which offers key questions to ask, quick facts, helpful resources for workers, and a guide for clinicians to diagnose work-related asthma.
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