Monday, December 8, 2014

New reporting requirements effective January 1, 2015

Beginning January 1, 2015, there will be a change to what covered employers are required to report to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Employers will now be required to report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye within 24 hours of finding about the incident.
Previously, employers were required to report all workplace fatalities and when three or more workers were hospitalized in the same incident. 

The updated reporting requirements are not simply paperwork but have a life-saving purpose: they will enable employers and workers to prevent future injuries by identifying and eliminating the most serious workplace hazards.

Employers have three options for reporting these severe incidents to OSHA. They can call their nearest area office during normal business hours, call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742), or they can report online at www.osha.gov/report_online. For more information and resources visit OSHA's Web page on the updated reporting requirements.

Starting January 1, 2015:
All employers* must report: 
  • All work-related fatalities
    within 8 hours
Within 24 hours, all work-related: 
  • Inpatient hospitalizations
  • Amputations
  • Losses of an eye  
How to Report Incident

*Employers under Federal OSHA's jurisdiction must begin reporting by January 1. Establishments in a state with a State run OSHA program should contact their state plan for the implementation date.

Friday, November 14, 2014

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Oct. 23, 2014

New OSHA program will focus on Nebraska companies
using highly hazardous chemicals

OMAHA, Neb. – To educate employers and workers about highly hazardous chemicals, including formaldehyde and methylene chloride, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is launching a local emphasis program in Nebraska. The program will include programmed health inspections at funeral homes, chemical and product manufacturing plants, printing facilities and outpatient care centers.

"This local emphasis program will allow OSHA to use its resources efficiently by focusing on industries that are known to use these types of highly hazardous chemicals," said Bonita Winingham, area director for OSHA in Omaha. "Through this program, OSHA will improve education for company management and strengthen worker protections."

Due to the increased health risks related to some chemicals, OSHA has created chemical-specific regulations known as expanded health standards. These regulations include exposure limits and monitoring requirements.
Industry sectors were selected for inspection based on recorded violations of these expanded health standards and the frequency of inspection in 2013.

Local emphasis programs are enforcement strategies designed and implemented at the regional and/or area office levels. These programs are intended to address hazards in industries that pose a particular risk to workers in the office's jurisdiction. Often, these local emphasis programs are accompanied by outreach intended to make area employers aware of the program and the hazards that the programs are designed to reduce or eliminate.

In addition, OSHA has created a toolkit to identify safer chemicals that can be used in place of hazardous ones.

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.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Is recordkeeping required for prescription medications?

October 20, 2014

Darren J.H***

Dear Mr. H***:

Thank you for your letter dated July 1, 2014 to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding the recordkeeping regulation contained in 29 CFR 1904 - Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. Specifically, you ask if there is an exception to considering the issuance of a prescription medication as medical treatment beyond first aid in cases involving a deer tick bite where the employee shows no signs or symptoms of Lyme disease.

Scenario: In your letter, you state that an employee was bitten by a deer tick in the work environment. The employee does not contract Lyme disease or any other illness as a result of the bite, does not exhibit any signs of illness, and does not miss any time at work. In an abundance of caution, a physician prescribes antibiotics as a prophylactic measure. You also state that doctors in certain areas of the United States have a greater tendency to prescribe antibiotics to guard against Lyme disease associated with deer tick bites, whereas doctors in most areas of the country do not routinely prescribe antibiotics as a preventative measure.

OSHA Response: The issuance of prescription antibiotics is considered medical treatment beyond first aid for OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping purposes. The scenario described above is a work-related injury involving medical treatment and must be entered on the OSHA Form 300. The Agency believes that the use of prescription medications is not first aid because prescription medications are powerful substances that can only be prescribed by a licensed health care professional, and for the majority of medications in the majority of states, by a licensed physician. See, the preamble to the final rule revising OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation, 66 Fed. Reg. 5986 (January 19, 2001). The preventive, precautionary or prophylactic nature of a medication is not controlling for determining OSHA recordability. See OSHA’s March 10, 2005 letter of interpretation to Dave Boyer. Any use of Rx medicine in treating a work-related injury or illness is considered medical treatment regardless of purpose prescribed. There is no exception in OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation for cases involving deer tick bites.

We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA’s interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules.

Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov.

Friday, October 17, 2014

FCC & OSHA announce working group to prevent fatalities in telecommunications industry

FCC and OSHA hold unprecedented event; announce working group to prevent fatalities in telecommunications industry


In an unprecedented event Oct. 14, the Department of Labor and the Federal Communications Commission joined leaders in the telecommunications industry, including major carrier AT&T, to discuss new and continuing efforts to prevent worker fatalities on cell towers.

"The fatality rate in this industry is extraordinarily high - tower workers are more than 10 times as likely to be killed on the job than construction workers," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "But these deaths are preventable."

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and FCC Chairman Thomas E. Wheeler also announced a new working group that will collaborate in the development and implementation of recommended safety practices for the growing telecommunications industry.

"The cellphones in our pockets can't come at the cost of a worker's life," said Secretary Perez. "We know we can't solve this problem alone though, and that's why I am so glad to be joined in partnership on this issue with the FCC and major carriers like AT&T. It's a perfect example of federal agencies and industry breaking down barriers and identifying common goals to save workers' lives."

For more information about the new working group, view a recording of the event and read the news release. To learn more about worker safety in the telecommunications industry, visit OSHA's Communication Towers Web page.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

OSHA's homepage changed

OSHA's homepage gets a facelift

New OSHA homepage
This month OSHA launched a new version of its home page at www.osha.gov. The page features a balance of graphics and text, making it easier to navigate. Drop down menus allow visitors to find information with one click. There is a “How To” section where users can get easy access to information in high demand such as OSHA’s FREE workplace poster and recordkeeping and reporting resources.

Users can stay abreast of OSHA’s hot topics and latest information by visiting the new home page. The page highlights OSHA’s major initiatives such as protecting temporary workers and preventing falls in construction. Visitors can follow OSHA by a real-time Twitter feed and the latest blogs posted on the page.

Visit OSHA’s new home page today!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

OSHA schedules meeting of the Federal Advisory Council

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Sept. 25, 2014
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999


OSHA schedules meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on
Occupational Safety and Health

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has scheduled a meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health Nov. 6, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

FACOSH advises the Secretary of Labor on all matters relating to the occupational safety and health of federal employees. This includes providing advice on how to reduce the number of injuries and illnesses in the federal workforce and how to encourage each federal executive branch department and agency to establish and maintain effective occupational safety and health programs.

The tentative agenda includes updates from FACOSH subcommittees and on recordkeeping rule changes affecting federal agencies, protecting workers from retaliation, and update and future metrics on the Presidential POWER Initiative.

The committee will meet from 1 - 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 6 in Rooms N-4437 A-D, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20210. The meeting is open to the public. Some committee members will participate by teleconference. Comments and requests to speak may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the federal e-rulemaking Portal, or by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for details. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 31, 2014.
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. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
###

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Comment period extended on proposed rule

OSHA has announced it will extend the comment period on the proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses to Oct. 14, 2014. The proposal, published on Nov. 8, 2013, would amend the agency's recordkeeping regulation to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep.

OSHA is soliciting comments on whether to amend the proposed rule to: 1) require that employers inform their employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses; 2) more clearly communicate that any injury and illness reporting requirements established by the employer must be reasonable and not unduly burdensome; and 3) provide OSHA additional means to prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for reporting injuries and illnesses.

Individuals interested in submitting comments may do so electronically at www.regulations.gov, the federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Comments may also be submitted via mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice and read the news release below for details.

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August 13, 2014
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA extends comment period on proposed rule to improve
tracking of workplace injury and illnesses

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced it will extend the comment period on the proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses to Oct. 14, 2014. The proposal, published on Nov. 8, 2013, would amend the agency's recordkeeping regulation to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep.

During the public meeting held on the proposal, many participants expressed concern that the proposal may create motivation for employers to under-record injuries and illnesses, since each covered establishment's injury and illness data would become publicly available on OSHA's website. Participants also expressed concern that the proposal would lead to an increase in the number of employers who adopt practices that discourage employees from reporting recordable injuries and illnesses. OSHA is concerned that the accuracy of the data collected under the new proposal could be compromised if employers adopt these practices.
"OSHA wants to make sure that employers, employees and the public have access to the most accurate data about injuries and illnesses in their workplaces so that they can take the most appropriate steps to protect worker safety and health," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

Therefore, OSHA is soliciting comments on whether to amend the proposed rule to: 1) require that employers inform their employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses; 2) more clearly communicate the requirement that any injury and illness reporting requirements established by the employer be reasonable and not unduly burdensome; and 3) provide OSHA an additional remedy to prohibit employers from taking adverse action against employees for reporting injuries and illnesses.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Qualified rigger

March 18, 2014

Eric M. Dean

General Secretary
International Association of
Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers
Suite 400
1750 New York Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20006

Dear Mr. Dean:

Thank you for your March 12, 2013, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You asked a question regarding the determination of whether an employee may be considered a "qualified rigger" under 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC (Cranes and Derricks in Construction).
We have paraphrased your question as follows:

Question: Can a labor-management joint apprenticeship training program that is a "qualified evaluator (third party)" for purposes of ensuring that signal persons meet qualification requirements also provide training regarding "qualified rigger" status?

Answer: Yes, but the employer is responsible for ensuring that any employee who rigs materials is a qualified rigger. The employer may consider determinations made by a third party, such as completion of a joint labor management apprenticeship training program, in assessing whether an employee is in fact a "qualified rigger." While such programs generally provide high-quality classroom and hands-on instruction, the employer must ensure that an employee assigned to rig a load is a qualified rigger with respect to that specific lift.
29 CFR 1926.1401 defines a "qualified rigger" as:
[A] rigger who meets the criteria for a qualified person.
29 CFR 1926.1401 defines a "qualified person" as:
[A] person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, successfully demonstrated the ability to solve/resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.
The level of experience, knowledge, and skill needed to perform a rigging job safely depends on the type of rigging and worksite conditions. The employer must ensure that the rigger has the ability to recognize and resolve any issues relating to the specific rigging work to be performed.

The cranes standard does not require or refer to third party evaluators with respect to qualified riggers. The standard's provisions regarding riggers differ in this respect from those regarding signal persons, to which your letter refers, under which documentation from a "qualified evaluator (third party)" is an alternative means of compliance. As noted, the employer may consider determinations made by a third party such as a joint apprenticeship program, but it retains responsibility for ensuring that any employee assigned to rig a load is qualified. 

This interpretation is consistent with OSHA's discussion of qualified riggers in a letter to William K. Irwin, Jr., dated January 9, 2012, available here:
https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=28268. 

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA's requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To assure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020.

Sincerely,

James G. Maddux, Director
Directorate of Construction

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Protect workers from demolition hazard, new resources

Recent fatalities serve as a reminder to protect workers from demolition hazards: New resources available.

On June 20, a construction worker taking down a Blockbuster Video building in New Jersey was trapped and killed when the last standing wall collapsed on top of him. Six months earlier, a 25-year-old construction worker in Chicago was struck and killed by pieces of falling concrete while conducting renovations on a shopping mall. A year ago, six people were killed and 14 injured in Philadelphia when a four-story building undergoing demolition collapsed. All these deaths could have been prevented.

OSHA recently launched updates to its Demolition Web page that focuses on the serious hazards common in demolition operations. The page includes information safe practices that must be followed to to prevent injuries and fatalities, and a link for stakeholders to share stories about demolition safety. Read the news release below for more information.


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July 10, 2014
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

Recent fatalities serve as a reminder to protect workers from demolition hazards
OSHA launches updated website, training resources for construction demolition industry

WASHINGTON – On June 20, a construction worker taking down an old Blockbuster Video building in New Jersey was trapped and killed when the last standing wall of a building under demolition collapsed on top of him. Six months earlier, a 25-year-old construction worker in Chicago was struck and killed by pieces of falling concrete while conducting renovations on a shopping mall. These tragedies follow the June 5, 2013, collapse of a four-story building undergoing demolition in Philadelphia that killed six people and injured 14. These deaths could have been prevented. To help prevent these tragedies and save lives, OSHA has developed new educational resources and training for the construction demolition industry. 

"Demolition workers face many hazards and their lives should not be sacrificed because of deliberate neglect of demolition fundamentals," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Employers must ensure that all workers involved in a demolition project are fully aware of hazards and safety precautions before work begins and as it progresses." 

OSHA recently launched an updated demolition website to address the hazards common in demolition operations and the safety measures that can be taken to prevent them. The updated Demolition page provides information on applicable OSHA standards, hazard assessments, measures that can be taken to prevent injuries and illnesses before site work begins, and a link for stakeholders to share stories about demolition safety. 

From 2009 to 2013, OSHA issued nearly 1,000 citations for violations of OSHA's construction demolition standards. The most common citation issued was for failure to conduct an engineering survey to determine the condition of the structure prior to demolition. This includes determining whether an unplanned collapse of the building or any adjacent structure would injure those working in the vicinity.

To ramp up efforts to protect demolition workers, OSHA recently provided demolition training courses on construction safety to federal, state and local government personnel with construction safety responsibilities in the Philadelphia area.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

OSHA, FMCSA sign agreement strengthening protections for workers.

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July 24, 2014
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,
sign agreement strengthening protections for workers from coercion, retaliation

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the coordination and cooperation between the agencies regarding the anti-retaliation provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. The memorandum allows for the exchange of safety, coercion and retaliation allegations, when received by one agency, that fall under the authority of the other.

The STAA protects drivers and other individuals working for commercial motor carriers from retaliation for reporting or engaging in activities related to certain commercial motor vehicle safety, health or security conditions. 

"Commercial vehicle drivers who report injuries, hazards and illegal work practices should not fear retaliation for speaking out about unsafe work conditions," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Through this agreement, we are sending a clear message that silencing workers who try to do the right thing is unacceptable for workers and also unsafe for the public."
"This strengthened partnership with OSHA extends our inter-agency collaboration specifically to include the sharing of reports of alleged coercion - companies forcing or intimidating truck or bus drivers to violate federal safety regulations," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "Pressuring drivers to stay behind the wheel beyond their hours-of-service limits, or to disregard other federal safety rules, seriously jeopardizes the safety of every traveler on our highways and roads. Commercial truck and bus companies that knowingly endanger the motoring public, or retaliate against whistleblowing employees, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

OSHA and FMCSA each play a specialized role in protecting the safety of commercial drivers and of the motoring public. OSHA investigates employee complaints of retaliation by commercial truck and bus companies. FMCSA is responsible for regulating both industries and - along with its state law enforcement partners - ensuring company and driver compliance with federal safety regulations, including driver on-duty and driving time limits to prevent fatigue, commercial driver's licenses rules, medical qualifications, drug and alcohol testing, hazardous materials safety standards and others.

In the last nine years, OSHA has processed more than 2,800 cases under STAA. Recently, OSHA ordered an Iowa waste removal company to reinstate a driver and pay the employee more than $123,000 in compensation after the company terminated the driver for raising safety concerns over company routes that violated Department of Transportation regulations, potentially causing serious injury to the worker, co-workers or the public. Read the press release on that case for more information.

Under the MOU, FMCSA will refer employees who complain of retaliation to OSHA, and OSHA will provide FMCSA with copies of complaints filed and findings issued under STAA. The agencies will report to each other annually on information shared during the previous year. The MOU also provides that FMCSA will process OSHA requests for information from various FMCSA databases.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace, commercial motor vehicle, airline, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, railroad, public transportation, maritime, consumer product, motor vehicle safety, health care reform, corporate securities, food safety and consumer financial reform regulations. Additional information is available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.

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. 

The public, commercial drivers, motor carriers and other industry members may file a safety, service or discrimination complaint against a household goods moving company, bus or truck company, including hazardous materials hauler or a cargo tank facility, by calling toll free 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, Eastern Time. Complaints may also be submitted through FMCSA's National Consumer Complaint website at http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov.

FMCSA was established as a separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation on Jan. 1, 2000, pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. Its primary mission is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

OSHA extends enforcement effort in Billings, Montana

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Region 8 News Release: 14-1295-MON
July 22, 2014
Contact: Leo F. Kay
Phone: 415-625-2630
Email: Kay.Leo.F@dol.gov

OSHA extends enforcement effort in Billings, Montana, following hailstorm,
asks employers to protect roofing and construction workers against falls
Agency advises consumers to verify contractors' safety records

BILLINGS, Mont. – Following a major hailstorm on May 18 and a resulting increase in construction, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is extending enforcement activity and asks for Billings-area employers, workers and consumers to protect roofing and construction workers against fall hazards. The Weekend Work Initiative aims to increase workplace surveillance of construction fall hazards and other dangers to prevent employee injuries and fatalities. Fall hazards are the leading cause of injuries and fatalities in the construction industry. 

Construction activity is at a peak because of the hailstorm. OSHA's Billings Area Office is extending its enforcement activities to include weekends, so that fall hazard inspections can be conducted during days of frequent construction. 

The historic storm pounded Yellowstone County with golf-ball-size hail and damaged approximately 80 percent of area roofs. For workers and homeowners, the consequences of the storm are not over. OSHA urges those engaged in storm-related roofing repair, exterior siding, exterior painting and rain gutter replacement in the Billings area to provide necessary fall safety protection. 

"Falls from roofs, ladders and scaffolds can be prevented by planning ahead, providing the right equipment for the job and by training everyone working on a project to use the equipment safely," said Jeff Funke, OSHA's area director in Billings. "Consumers should verify that fall protection will be used and request information on a contractor's safety record." 

In 2010, there were 264 fall fatalities nationwide out of 774 total fatalities in construction. The most recent fall fatality in Montana took place on April 9, 2014, when a 51-year-old roofer removing shingles from a residential home fell roughly 9 feet and suffered massive trauma.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or 
report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Billings Area Office at 406-247-7494.

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. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program helps Wis. Company

Edstrom Industries Inc., a Wisconsin-based company that designs and manufactures automated animal water systems and related products, reached out to OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program for help improving workplace safety and health. Over several visits, consultants identified and helped Edstrom abate acid mist, air quality, chemical exposure, lead dust, machine guarding, noise, animal handling, electrical and other hazards.

Edstrom's dedication to protecting workers was rewarded in 2004, when it became the second company in Wisconsin to be accepted into OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. Acceptance into SHARP is an attainment of status that singles out the company among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health. The company has continually maintained this standing, earning their fifth SHARP recertification in 2013. For more information, see the story on Erdstrom Industries' success.

On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with small business employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. To request a free consultation, visit OSHA's On-Site Consultation page or call 800-321-OSHA (6742) to find an office in your area.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hazard bulletin to safeguard tree care workers

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June 16, 2014
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA issues hazard bulletin to safeguard tree care workers

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a hazard bulletin about preventing worker fatalities from falls and falling objects in tree care work.
"Too many tree care workers are being hurt or killed by well-known industry dangers that can be prevented if employers take the necessary precautions," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Employers have a responsibility to ensure workers are protected on the job - this includes providing training and making sure workers have the right tools to stay safe." 

The hazard bulletin* details two fatal tree care incidents, one caused by a fall and the other by a falling object. In the first, OSHA's investigation found that his employer should have prevented him from being in the tree trimming area or "drop zone." In the other, a worker fell 65 feet when the trunk of the tree he was working on snapped in half. OSHA determined that the employer could have prevented this incident by performing a preliminary examination of the tree before starting work.

The bulletin also lists safety precautions for employers to use before they begin any tree care operations, which include:
  • Assess the worksite for fall and falling object hazards
  • Have a qualified arborist survey the worksite
  • Determine if workers will need to climb or use aerial lifts
  • Establish drop zones where there is a hazard of falling objects
  • Take steps to protect workers from falling object hazards
  • Establish visual and audible communications with overhead and ground workers
  • Have emergency procedures in place
More information on the tree care industry can be found at www.osha.gov/treecare.
OSHA has initiated local and regional emphasis programs that focus on reducing workplace fatalities in the tree trimming industry. As part of emphasis programs in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia West Virginia, Ohio and Illinois, OSHA will target inspections and direct outreach and compliance resources to the tree trimming and clearing industry. For more information on these emphasis programs, visit https://www.osha.gov/dep/leps/leps.html.

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. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

OSHA Trade News Release

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June 10, 2014
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA announces new interactive training webtool on identifying workplace hazards
Assistant Secretary Michaels unveils new resource at annual safety engineering conference

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today released a new interactive training tool to help small businesses effectively identify hazards in the workplace. Employers and workers can virtually explore how to identify common workplace hazards in the manufacturing and construction industries. Users of the new training tool will learn not only hazard identification skills but also learn about hazard abatement and control. 

"Hazard identification is a critical part of creating an injury and illness prevention program that will keep workers safe and healthy on the job," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "This new tool not only educates employers about how to take control of their workplaces and protect workers, it also demonstrates that following well-established safety practices is also good for the bottom line." Assistant Secretary Michaels announced the new tool today at the American Society of Safety Engineers conference in Orlando, Fla.
OSHA Hazard Identification
Through the hazard identification tool, users can play from the perspective of either a business owner or an employee as they learn to identify realistic, common hazards and address them with practical and effective solutions. The tool explains the key components of the hazard identification process, which include information collection, observation of the workplace, investigation of incidents, employee participation and prioritizing hazards.
OSHA developed the tool in conjunction with its Training Institute to assist small business owners in effectively identifying hazards in their workplace. The hazard identification training tool can be found on OSHA's website at www.osha.gov/hazfinder. To view the game trailer, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj_IqaWSbKo&feature=youtu.be.For additional compliance assistance resources visit www.osha.gov.

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. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

Friday, June 6, 2014

1Million Workers Expected to Participate in National Fall Safety Stand-Down

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Release: 14-997-NAT
Date: June 2, 2014
Contact:     Lauren North
Phone:     202-693-4655
Email: : north.lauren.a@dol.gov
More than 1M workers expected to participate
in National Fall Safety Stand-Down

OSHA partners with 25K businesses to prevent falls in construction and save lives

I worked construction for 10 years before my fall. It shattered my body and my livelihood. Work safety. Use the right equipment. Safety Pays. Falls Cost. Falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented!
WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands of employers and more than 1 million workers across the country are expected to join the Occupational Safety and Health Administration this week in safety stand-downs to focus on preventing fatalities from falls. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, with hundreds of workers dying each year and thousands more facing serious injuries. Lack of fall protection is also the most frequently cited OSHA violation, proving that these deaths are preventable when employers provide the right safety equipment and properly train workers how to use it. Starting today and continuing throughout the week, a record number of companies and workers around the country are voluntarily stopping work to talk about fall prevention. Stand-Down participants are encouraged to share their experiences on Twitter by using #StandDown4Safety and tagging @USDOL.

"This is an unprecedented event. Tens of thousands of employers and hundreds of thousands of workers across the country have joined our campaign to save lives and prevent fatal falls in the construction industry," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "The economy is on the rebound, housing starts are on the rise and the summer construction season is getting underway. Now is the time to focus on this vital safety issue and make sure all construction workers come home at the end of every workday." 

Throughout the week-long Stand-Down, employers and workers will pause during their workday to focus on the hazards of falls and preventing them. Industry and business leaders, including universities, labor organizations, and community and faith-based groups, have scheduled stand-downs in all 50 states and across the world. For example, the University of Texas at Arlington is joining OSHA staff and Balfour Beatty Construction to kick off events across the state of Texas today. Clark Construction Group LLC will also host a stand-down at the Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, California. While on Wednesday, June 4, NASCAR race car driver Greg Biffle will be at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, to demonstrate fall protection at the facility, which is currently under construction. In addition, the U.S. Air Force will be hosting fall stand-downs at bases worldwide.

"Falls cause immense pain and suffering when they happen, and we must do everything we can to stop them," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "The good news is that they are preventable with three easy steps: the best protection is to plan ahead, ensure workers have the right equipment and train each worker to use it." 


"Preventing falls benefits everyone, from the worker, to the employer, to the community at large. This safety Stand-Down serves as an important opportunity for everyone to take the time to learn how to recognize and prevent fall hazards," said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard.

The National Safety Stand-Down Web page provides details on: how to conduct a stand-down; receive a certificate of participation; and access free education and training resources, fact sheets and other outreach materials in English and Spanish. For a list of stand-down events free and open to the public, please visit the Stand-Down calendar of events. This is not a comprehensive list of all events taking place across the country.
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. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Trade News Release Banner Image


Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez Press Statement
National Safety Stand-Down Press Call
June 2, 2014

Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us to discuss this serious safety issue for American workers.
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Almost 300 construction workers died in falls in 2012 -- that's nearly one every day. Thousands more were seriously injured. These are senseless tragedies that are preventable -- through planning at the worksite and by providing proper fall protection and training on how to use it.

This week, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is partnering with tens of thousands of businesses for a national safety "stand-down" to stop fatal falls. During Stand-Down events, a record number of companies and workers nationwide will voluntarily pause work to raise awareness about fall hazards and how to prevent them.

These events will run throughout the week all across the country. We estimate that more than a million workers and over 25,000 businesses will participate. This is an unprecedented effort and we want the outcome - in the form of fewer fatal accidents -- to be unprecedented as well. Never before have we been able to reach such a large number of people with a single worker safety initiative, and it couldn't come at a more vital time.

With the economy recovering and housing starts on the rise, this is the moment to ensure that no one has to lose their life in order to make a living. The summer construction season is underway as we speak. Now is the moment to make sure those who build our homes are able to return safe and sound to their own homes every night.

And this isn't just about the construction industry. Fatal falls and injuries touch workers in all kinds of jobs across the country. It's a widespread problem that has a devastating impact not only on workers and their families, but on our economy. The record number of people mobilizing for this Stand-Down just underscores what we can all accomplish when we work together.

The U.S. Air Force will be hosting fall stand-down events at their bases worldwide -- so we can ensure the job safety of the men and women who keep us safe every day. At the Daytona Speedway, where a massive renovation project is currently underway, NASCAR driver Greg Biffle will emphasize the importance of fall safety by strapping on a fall arrest system rather than strapping into his car.

These are just a few examples of innovative stand-down activities taking place this week. Working with labor unions, business leaders, community groups, universities and safety and health professionals, we can make a real difference in preventing falls. We can Stand-Down for Safety and we can save lives.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Annual summer campaign to prevent heat-illness

Trade News Release Banner Image


Release: 14-929-NAT
Date: May 22, 2014
Contact: Ann Mangold    Jesse Lawder
Phone: 202-693-4679    202-693-4659
Email: : mangold.ann.r@dol.gov    lawder.jesse@dol.gov

Annual summer campaign to prevent heat-related illnesses
launched by US Labor Department

"Water. Rest. Shade." and acclimatization are critical in preventing heat illness and fatalities
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced the launch of its annual Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers. For the fourth consecutive year, OSHA's campaign aims to raise awareness and educate workers and employers about the dangers of working in hot weather and provide resources and guidance to address these hazards. Workers at particular risk are those in outdoor industries, such as agriculture, construction, landscaping and transportation. 

"Heat-related illnesses can be fatal, and employers are responsible for keeping workers safe," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Employers can take a few easy steps to save lives, including scheduling frequent water breaks, providing shade and allowing ample time to rest." 

WATER. REST. SHADE. The work can't get done without them.
Thousands of employees become sick each year and many die from working in the heat. In 2012, there were 31 heat-related worker deaths and 4,120 heat-related worker illnesses. Labor-intensive activities in hot weather can raise body temperatures beyond the level that normally can be cooled by sweating. Heat illness initially may manifest as heat rash or heat cramps, but can quickly escalate to heat exhaustion and then heat stroke if simple preventative measures are not followed. Heat illness disproportionately affects those who have not built up a tolerance to heat (acclimatization), and it is especially dangerous for new and temporary workers.

"Acclimatization is a physical change that the body undergoes to build tolerance to heat, and it is a critical part of preventing heat illnesses and fatalities," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Over the past three years, lack of acclimatization was the cause in 74 percent of heat-related citations issued. Employers have a responsibility to provide workplaces that are safe from recognized hazards, including outdoor heat."

Last year, OSHA issued 11 heat-related citations. In some of these cases, the employer and staffing agency were cited because they involved temporary workers. 

In preparation for the summer season, OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training, also available in both English and Spanish. Additionally, a Web page provides information and resources on heat illness - including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency - for workers and employers. The page is available at: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html.

OSHA also has released a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. Since its 2011 launch, more than 130,000 users have downloaded the app. Available for Android-based platforms and the iPhone, the app can be downloaded in English and Spanish by visiting: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/heat_app.html.

In developing its inaugural national campaign in 2011, federal OSHA worked closely with the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration and adapted materials from that state's successful campaign. Additionally, OSHA is partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to incorporate worker safety precautions when heat alerts are issued across the nation. NOAA also will include pertinent worker safety information on its heat watch Web page at http://www.noaawatch.gov/themes/heat.php.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

OSHA's top leader praises work of On-site Consultation projects

More than 160 safety and health professionals attended the 39th Annual On-site Consultation Training Conference on May 6 in Denver. Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels kicked off the three-day training by praising the work of the 52 on-site consultation projects across the country. The annual conference enables consultants to discuss issues most relevant to their work, including emerging hazards and key topics in safety and health.

OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers a free and confidential service for small and medium-sized businesses. Consultants work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. On-site consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations.

Program Information

Using a free consultation service largely funded by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers can find out about potential hazards at their worksites, improve their occupational injury and illness prevention programs, and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections.

The service is delivered by state governments using well-trained professional staff. Most consultations take place on-site, though limited services away from the worksite are available.

Primarily targeted for smaller businesses, this safety and health consultation program is completely separate from the OSHA inspection effort. In addition, no citations are issued or penalties proposed.

It's confidential, too. Your name, your firm's name, and any information you provide about your workplace, plus any unsafe or unhealthful working conditions that the consultant uncovers, will not be reported routinely to the OSHA inspection staff.

Your only obligation will be to correct serious job safety and health hazards -- a commitment which you are expected to make prior to the actual visit and carry out in a timely manner.

Benefits

Your Workforce

An effective workplace injury and illness prevention program at your worksite(s) will enable you to:
  • Recognize and remove hazards from your workplace.
  • Protect your workers from injury and illness.
  • Prevent loss of life at your worksite.
  • Cultivate informed and alert employees who take responsibility for their own and their coworkers' safety and for worksite safety as a whole.
  • Improve employee morale.

Your Managers

An increased understanding of workplace hazards and remedies will put your managers in a better position to:
  • Comply with federal and state safety and health requirements.
  • Become more effective at their jobs. Management experts believe that a company with a well-managed injury and illness prevention program enjoys better overall management.
  • Increase productivity rates and assure product quality.

Your Business as a Whole

An exemplary workplace injury and illness prevention program is "good business sense" that also makes financial sense because it will allow you to:
  • Learn first-hand that the cost of accident prevention is far lower than the cost of accidents.
  • Improve the bottom line by:
    • Lowering injury and illness rates,
    • Decreasing workers' compensation costs,
    • Reducing lost workdays, and
    • Limiting equipment damage and product losses.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Improving Chemical Facility Safety & Security

Executive Order Progress Update*: February 2014

Executive Order Progress Update*: December 2013

Background

On August 1, 2013, President Obama signed Executive Order 13650, entitled Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security. The Executive Order directs the Federal Government to improve operational coordination with state and local partners; improve Federal agency coordination and information sharing; modernize policies, regulations, and standards; and work with stakeholders to identify best practices.
The Executive Order working group includes representatives from:
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Executive Order 13650

Federal Workgroups Formed in Response to the Executive Order:

Section 3 - Improving Operational Coordination (Co-chaired by EPA and DHS, U.S. Coast Guard)
Section 4 - Improving Federal Agency Coordination (Co-chaired by EPA and DHS, U.S. Coast Guard)
Section 5 - Improving Information Collection and Sharing (Chaired by DHS, Infrastructure Security Compliance Division)
Section 6 - Modernizing Policies, Regulations, and Standards (Chaired by DOL, Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
Section 7 - Stakeholder Outreach and Identifying Best Practices (Chaired by DHS, Infrastructure Security Compliance Division)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Workers' Memorial Day

President Obama proclaims April 28, 2014 Workers' Memorial Day

Workers' Memorial Day poster
In an official proclamation, President Barack Obama declared April 28, 2014, to be Workers' Memorial Day. The President called upon all Americans to participate in ceremonies and activities in memory of those killed or injured due to unsafe working conditions.
"We must never accept that injury, illness, or death is the cost of doing business. Workers are the backbone of our economy, and no one's prosperity should come at the expense of their safety. Today, let us celebrate our workers by upholding their basic right to clock out and return home at the end of each shift,” said President Barack Obama.

“America is built on the promise of opportunity... Yet each year, workplace illness and injury threaten that promise for millions of Americans, and even more tragically, thousands die on the job,” President Obama continued. “This is unacceptable. On Workers Memorial Day, we honor those we have lost, and in their memory, affirm everyone's right to a safe workplace."

Read more in the Presidential Proclamation

Friday, April 25, 2014

Electric power generation, transmission & distribution final rule

OSHA’s final rule to improve workplace safety and health for workers performing electric power generation, transmission and distribution work has been published in the Federal Register.
The final rule revises OSHA’s 40-year-old construction standard for electric power line work to make it more consistent with the corresponding general industry standard and also makes some revisions to the construction and general industry requirements. In addition, the standards adopt revised approach-distance requirements and add new requirements to protect workers from electric arcs. General industry and construction standards for electrical protective equipment are also revised under the final rule.

The rule becomes effective July 10, 2014. OSHA adopted delayed compliance deadlines for certain requirements. Additional information on the final rule is available at www.osha.gov/dsg/power_generation/.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Proximity Alarm and Insulating Link Use with Cranes and Derricks in Construction

March 31, 2014
MEMORANDUM FOR: REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
FROM:    JAMES G. MADDUX

SUBJECT:   Temporary Enforcement Policy for Proximity Alarm and Insulating Link Use with Cranes and Derricks in Construction

Effective April 30, 2014, until further notice, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) intends to follow the temporary enforcement policy described below for use of proximity alarms and insulating links with cranes or derricks while engaged in construction activities near power lines. OSHA initially adopted a temporary enforcement policy for the use of these devices in a June 25, 2012 memorandum, and it was effective July 26, 2012 through November 8, 2013. This memorandum supersedes OSHA's June 25, 2012 memorandum.

The Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC ("cranes standard"), includes several options for cranes and derricks performing construction activities near power lines. Some of the options involve proximity alarms or insulating links/devices. Section 1926.1401 of the cranes standard defines "proximity alarm" and "insulating link/device" as devices that warn of proximity to power lines or that insulate against electricity and that have been "...listed, labeled or accepted by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory in accordance with § 29 CFR 1910.7" ("NRTL requirements"). These pieces of safety equipment must meet the performance requirements and the NRTL requirements as defined in § 1926.1401-Definitions to be used on cranes and derricks in construction.

To date, no proximity alarm or insulating link/device meets the NRTL requirements. Additionally, at this time, no NRTL is recognized by the Agency to perform the required testing to list, label or accept either type device. Proximity alarms and insulating links/devices which do not meet the NRTL requirements continue to be available, as they have for decades. These versions have not been "...listed, labeled or accepted by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory." OSHA does not anticipate proximity alarms or insulating links/devices which meet the NRTL requirements to be available in the near future.

Because there are no compliant proximity alarms or insulating links/devices, OSHA intends to follow the temporary policy noted below until further notice and will engage in rulemaking to address the unavailability of proximity alarms and insulating links/devices which meet these NRTL requirements. The temporary policy is for:
  • proximity alarm use under § 1926.1407-Power line safety (up to 350 kV)-assembly and disassembly;
  • proximity alarm and insulating link use under § 1926.1408-Power line safety (up to 350 kV)-equipment operations;
  • proximity alarm and insulating link use under § 1926.1409-Power line safety (over 350 kV) through §§ 1926.1407 and 1926.1408; and
  • insulating link/device use under § 1926.1410-Power line safety (all voltages)-equipment operations closer than the Table A zone.
Proximity Alarms
Because no current proximity alarms meet the NRTL requirements, employers may not rely solely on proximity alarms to comply with the requirements of the cranes standard. However, an employer may use a crane/derrick in construction with a proximity alarm in conjunction with another appropriate "measure" from §§ 1926.1407(b)(3) or 1926.1408(b)(4), such as a "dedicated spotter" or "range control warning device." If these conditions are met, the employer will not be considered to be in violation of either §§ 1926.1407(b)(3) or 1926.1408(b)(4), including situations where voltages are over 350 kV as referenced in § 1926.1409.

Insulating Links/Devices
Because no current insulating links/devices meet the NRTL requirements in the § 1926.1401 definition for "insulating link/device," employers may not rely solely on an insulating link/device to comply with requirements of the cranes standard. However, an employer may use a crane/derrick in construction with an insulating link in conjunction with another appropriate "measure" from § 1926.1408(b)(4), such as a "dedicated spotter" or "range control warning device." If these conditions are met, the employer will not be considered to be in violation of § 1926.1408(b)(4), including situations where voltages are over 350kV as referenced in § 1926.1409. Additionally, OSHA will not cite any employer for a violation of § 1926.1410(d)(4) (requirement that an insulating link/device be "installed at a point between the end of the load line (or below) and the load") if an employer is using an insulating link/device manufactured on any date, as specified in § 1926.1410(d)(4)(v)(A), and in conjunction with the additional protections in § 1926.1410(d)(4)(v)(B), such as insulated gloves rated for the voltage involved.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ammended Hazcom 2012 regarding Petroleum Streams

March 4, 2014

Erik C. Baptist
Washington, DC

Re: Request for Interpretation OSHA's Amended Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012) regarding Petroleum Streams

Dear Mr. Baptist:

This letter is being issued to API to provide guidance on how to apply the March 26, 2012, revisions to OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012). Classifiers may rely on the following guidance in applying the classification and SDS requirements of HCS 2012 to petroleum streams.
For purpose of this letter, a petroleum stream includes crude oil and anything derived from crude oil that is:
  • a well-defined chemical compound defined by a Chemical Abstracts Service Number, such as butane or propane, aside from impurities and stabilizers; or
  • a Substance of Unknown or Variable composition, Complex reaction products or Biological materials (UVCBs) defined by a Chemical Abstracts Service Number.
Petroleum Stream Classification
The obligation to classify the health hazards of petroleum streams under the Hazard Communication Standard may be satisfied by following the below guidance, in conjunction with the general guidance found in A.0.1-A.0.3, in the application of the classification criteria in Appendix A of the standard.
  1. For hazard classes other than carcinogenicity, germ cell mutagenicity, and reproductive toxicity ("CMR"), a petroleum stream shall be classified as follows:

    (a) Where test data are available for the petroleum stream, the classification of the stream will always be based on those data.

    (b) Where test data are not available for the stream itself, the classification may be based on a toxicologically appropriate read across from test results of a substantially similar stream. A substantially similar stream is one that has a similar starting material, production process, and range of physico-chemical properties (e.g., boiling point and carbon number) and similar constituent compositions.

    (c) If test data are not available either for the stream itself or a substantially similar stream, then the method(s) described in each chapter of Appendix A for estimating the hazards based on the information known will be applied to classify the stream (i.e., application of cut-off values/concentration limits).
  2. For the CMR hazard classes:

    (a) When reliable and good quality data are available to classify a petroleum stream-based on testing of the stream or the toxicologically appropriate read-across to a substantially similar stream-a weight of evidence analysis supported by that data may be relied upon for classification regardless of whether a CMR constituent is present in the stream. A substantially similar stream is one that has a similar starting material, production process, and range of physico-chemical properties (e.g., boiling point and carbon number) and similar constituent compositions.

    (b) To be reliable and good quality test data, the data must be from one or more tests that reflect appropriate study design and performance. The study or studies must appropriately take into account dose and other factors such as duration, observations, and analysis (e.g. statistical analysis, test sensitivity) so as to conclusively exclude the possibility that the lack of effect(s) is due to a poor study design, e.g., insufficient dose or number of subjects. A study (or studies) is conclusive in this sense if, when viewed in conjunction with all relevant information about the chemical, its results are consistent with the relevant information and allow a strong inference that the lack of effects is not due to a poor study design.

    (c) Where reliable and good quality data are not available on the stream or a substantially similar stream, then the method(s) described in each chapter of Appendix A for estimating the hazards based on the information known will be applied to classify the stream (i.e., application of cut-off values/concentration limits).
Safety Data Sheet Disclosure
Many petroleum streams are of unknown or variable concentration, and cannot be represented by unique structures, molecular formulas, or fixed concentration percentages. In addition, petroleum industry test data are largely based on the testing of streams rather than the hundreds or thousands of individual constituents of those streams. In light of these facts, application of the disclosure requirements in Section 3 of table D.1 to petroleum streams may be infeasible and/or undermine the usefulness of the SDS. Thus, SDSs for petroleum streams that are in accordance with the following guidance will be considered to be in compliance with the standard for enforcement purposes.
  1. When dealing with petroleum streams, it may be more important for the user to know the concentrations of particular groups of constituents that are toxicologically similar. For example, in the classification of a petroleum stream, it may be more relevant to know the total concentration of a class of constituents such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) to understand the health hazards of the stream, rather than knowing the concentration of each particular PAH. Further, information about the presence and concentration of particular constituents of the group might not be available, or even if it were, inclusion of every one could lead to the listing of hundreds of constituents. This is likely to undermine the effectiveness of the disclosure requirements in Section 3. Thus, where the classifier can show that it is toxicologically appropriate to treat a particular set of constituents as a group, and all of the toxicologically useful information about the constituents in that group is conveyed by treating them as a group, SDS need only include the name and concentration of that group in Section 3 if present above the cut-off/concentration limit (or if the group presents a health risk below the cut-off/concentration limit). The foregoing example of PAHs is designed to assist in better understanding the concept of this paragraph. It is not intended to limit the application of this approach to any particular type or group of constituents.
  2. Other constituents, such as benzene or n-hexane, that are known to be present in the stream, and that present classified health hazards, must be listed individually in Section 3 along with their concentrations if present above the cut-off/concentration limit (or if the constituent presents a health risk below the cut-off/concentration limit).
  3. Where there is "reliable and good quality" data supporting a weight of evidence determination that a constituent in a petroleum stream poses no health risk (as per A.0.4.3.3) in a downstream use of the stream, it need not be disclosed on the SDS.
  4. Where the classifier does not know the exact concentration of a constituent or group of constituents included in Section 3 of the SDS, it may use a range of concentrations instead. Concentration ranges, if used, must be based on the information available to the classifier, such as analysis results, product specifications, or nature of the process, and the high end of the range reported may not affect the reported hazard classification.