Wednesday, January 25, 2012

OSHA partners with Torcon to protect workers on Penn State University construction project

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a partnership with Torcon Inc. to promote workplace safety and health, and to provide guidance, technical assistance and training for workers involved in the construction of the Penn State University Biological Research Laboratory.

"Construction is a high-hazard industry, and when multiple employers are working on a construction site, the likelihood of injuries occurring increases," said Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA's Harrisburg Area Office, who represented the agency at a signing ceremony. "This partnership allows OSHA to work directly with Torcon, its subcontractor and the employees to provide the tools needed to prevent injuries and illnesses."

"Penn State University applauds OSHA's partnership with Torcon Inc.," said Don Fronk, Penn State physical plant occupational safety and environmental health specialist. "Safety has always been priority number one, and the university intends to maintain its fine track record."

The partnership aims to reduce the number of at-risk conditions and behaviors that could result in worker fatalities, injuries or illnesses, especially those relating to falls, struck-by, caught-in and electrical hazards.

Through its Strategic Partnership Program, OSHA partners with employers, workers, professional and trade associations, labor organizations and other stakeholders to establish specific goals, strategies and performance measures to improve worker safety and health.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

OSHA continues targeted inspection program for federal workers

OSHA recently updated its Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program (FEDTARG) directive [PDF] for fiscal year 2012. FEDTARG directs programmed inspections of federal agency establishments that experienced high numbers of lost time injuries during Fiscal Year 2011. The directive outlines the procedures for carrying out programmed inspections at some of the most hazardous federal workplaces. Changes to this directive include provisions for reviewing alternate and supplementary standards for federal agencies, which are the equivalent of private sector variances from OSHA standards. Other changes include clarifications of how OSHA Area Directors determine the appropriate number and location of on-site inspections for establishments with multiple services or operations.

FEDTARG12 continues OSHA's nationwide inspection targeting program for federal worksites. OSHA's Office of Federal Agency Programs (FAP) provides leadership and guidance to the heads of federal agencies to assist them with their occupational safety and health responsibilities.

In an effort to help Federal employers comply with such regulations, National Safety Compliance has developed many OSHA compliant safety training materials.

Friday, January 13, 2012

National Emphasis Program

OSHA issues new National Emphasis Program
for chemical facilities

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a new National Emphasis Program* (NEP) for chemical facilities to protect workers from catastrophic releases of highly hazardous chemicals.

"Far too many workers are injured and killed in preventable incidents at chemical facilities around the country," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "This program will enable OSHA inspectors to cover chemical facilities nationwide to ensure that all required measures are taken to protect workers."

The new NEP replaces OSHA's 2009 pilot Chemical Facility National Emphasis Program which covered several OSHA regions around the country. The program* establishes policies and procedures for inspecting workplaces that are covered by OSHA's process safety management (PSM) standard. The program's inspection process includes detailed questions designed to gather facts related to PSM requirements and verification that employers' written and implemented PSM programs are consistent. The intent of the NEP is to conduct focused inspections at facilities randomly selected from a list of worksites likely to have highly hazardous chemicals in quantities covered by the standard.

OSHA implemented a multi-year pilot NEP for PSM-covered facilities in July 2009 in an effort to reduce releases of highly hazardous chemicals. "During our pilot Chemical NEP we found many of the same safety-related problems that were uncovered during our NEP for the refinery industry, which is also covered by the PSM standard," said Michaels. "As a result, we are expanding the enforcement program to a national level to increase awareness of these dangers so that employers will more effectively prevent the release of highly hazardous chemicals."

OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Web page on Process Safety Management contains information on PSM for general industry and construction, guidance on how to develop a process hazard analysis, and OSHA requirements for preventing the release of hazardous chemicals.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

OMB Approval: General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment; Approval of Information Collection Requirements

OSHA is announcing that OMB approved the collection of information requirements contained in the General Working Conditions Standard under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The OMB approval number is 1218-0259.

DATES: The rule is effective January 3, 2012. The final rule, published May 2, 2011 (76 FR 24576), became effective and enforceable on August 1, 2011, except for the provisions in Sec. 1915.89, which became effective and enforceable on October 31, 2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Theda Kenney, OSHA, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3609, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2222.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OSHA published a final rule for General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment on May 2, 2011 (76 FR 24576), updating existing requirements to reflect advances in industry practices and technology, consolidating some general safety and health requirements into one subpart, and providing hazardous energy protection not addressed in the existing standard.

As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Federal Register notice for the General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment final rule stated that compliance with the collection of information requirements was not required until OMB approved these requirements, and that the Department of Labor would publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing that OMB approved and assigned a control number to the requirements. See 76 FR 24695. Under 5 CFR 1320.5(b), an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless: (1) The collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number, and (2) the agency informs those members of the public who must respond to the collection of information that they are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

On May 2, 2011, OSHA submitted the General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment (29 CFR part 1915, subpart F) Information Collection Request for the final rule to OMB for approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). On October 31, 2011, OMB approved the collections of information contained in the final rule and assigned this collection OMB Control Number 1218- 0259.

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 1915

Occupational safety and health, reporting, Recordkeeping requirements, Hazards in general working condition in shipyard employment.