Wednesday, March 26, 2014

National Advisory Committee nominations needed

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March 26, 2014
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA seeks nominations for members to serve on the National
Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that nominations are being accepted for members to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health.

NACOSH was established under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to advise the secretaries of labor and health and human services on occupational safety and health programs and policies.
OSHA seeks to fill all 12 committee positions, which consist of four public representatives and two representatives each for labor, management and professionals in occupational safety and in occupational health. The health and human services secretary will designate four of these representatives for appointment by the secretary of labor: two public, one occupational health professional and one occupational safety professional. To create staggered terms, the secretary of labor will appoint six members to serve a two-year term and six to a three-year term. In the future, all members will go back to serving two-year terms.
Nominations may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal, mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for submission details. Nominations must be submitted by May 27, 2014.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stand Down for Fall Prevention in Construction

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Date: March 19, 2014
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA announces national stand-down for fall prevention in construction

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a national safety stand-down from June 2 to 6 to raise awareness among employers and workers about the hazards of falls, which account for the highest number of deaths in the construction industry.
"Falls account for more than a third of all deaths in this industry," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "We're working with employers, workers, industry groups, state OSH plans, and civic and faith-based organizations to host safety stand-downs that focus on recognizing hazards and preventing falls. We are getting the message out to America's employers that safety pays and falls cost."

During the stand-down, employers and workers are asked to pause their workday to talk about fall prevention in construction, and discuss topics like ladder safety, scaffolding safety and roofing work safety. OSHA has also launched an official national safety stand-down website with information on how to conduct a successful stand-down. Afterwards, employers will be able to provide feedback and receive a personalized certificate of participation. 

The stand-down is part of OSHA's ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign, which was started in 2012 and was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. The campaign provides employers with lifesaving information and educational materials on how to plan ahead to prevent falls, provide the right equipment for their workers and train all employees in the proper use of that equipment. 

"We are pleased to join again with OSHA and our NORA partners to focus on fall prevention at construction sites," said Dr. John Howard, NIOSH director. "Preventing falls in the construction industry 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." 

To learn how to partner with OSHA in this stand-down, visit http://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/. The 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. To learn more about preventing falls in construction visit http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/.

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, March 14, 2014

Interpretation regarding Hazards not Otherwise Classified

March 4, 2014

Erik C. B***
Washington, DC 20005

Re:   Request for Interpretation of OSHA's Amended Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012) about Hazards Not Otherwise Classified

Dear Mr. B***:

This letter is being issued to API to provide additional guidance on how to apply the requirements for Hazards Not Otherwise Classified (HNOC) under the March 26, 2012, revisions to OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012).

Under OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard, an HNOC is defined as follows:
an adverse physical or health effect identified through evaluation of scientific evidence during the classification process that does not meet the specified criteria for the physical and health hazard classes addressed in this section. This does not extend coverage to adverse physical and health effects for which there is a hazard class addressed in this section, but the effect either falls below the cut-off value/concentration limit of the hazard class or is under a GHS hazard category that has not been adopted by OSHA (e.g., acute toxicity Category 5).
29 C.F.R. § 1910.1200(c).

Classifiers may rely on the following guidance in applying the definition of an HNOC under HCS 2012:
  1. An adverse physical or health effect is a material impairment of health or functional capacity, as that phrase is used in section 6(b)(5) of the OSH Act, 29 U.S.C. § 655(b)(5), resulting from workplace exposure to a chemical.
  2. A health effect is determined in accordance with the weight of evidence criteria in A.0.3.
  3. The term physical effect generally refers to a material impairment of health or functional capacity caused by the intrinsic hazard(s) of a particular chemical in normal conditions of use or foreseeable emergencies. Scalds caused by exposure to chemicals at high temperatures, and slips and falls caused by treading on a solid chemical shaped in a rounded form or spilled liquids are not covered physical effects under the HNOC definition. By way of example, water is not classified as an HNOC merely because an employee might be scalded by contact with boiling water or because an employee might contract hypothermia by being immersed in cold water for a long period of time. Similarly, water is not classified as an HNOC by virtue of the fact that an employee might be injured when slipping and falling on a wet surface or when sprayed by water at high pressure. The foregoing examples of adverse physical effects that are outside the scope of HNOCs are designed to assist in better understanding the concept of HNOCs. They are not intended to be exhaustive or limited to chemicals, such as water, which are not hazardous chemicals.

Monday, March 10, 2014

News Release: Communication Tower Workers

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OSHA News Release: 14-338-NAT
Feb. 25, 2014
Contact: Lauren North
Phone: 202-693-4655
Email: north.lauren.a@dol.gov 

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health
Dr. David Michaels urges action to protect communication tower workers

No more falling workers
WASHINGTON – More communication tower workers were killed in 2013 than in the previous two years combined, and four more tower-related deaths have already occurred in 2014. Every one of those deaths was preventable. This disturbing trend appears to be continuing, and actions must be taken to prevent more deaths. That is the message Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels is delivering to the National Association of Tower Erectors. Excerpts of remarks from Dr. Michaels to the professional association via video during their national conference are below:
"We are very concerned about this sharp rise. The fatality rate in this industry is extremely high - and tower workers have a risk of fatal injury perhaps 25 to 30 times higher than the risk for the average American worker. This is clearly unacceptable. 

"At OSHA, we are reaching out to educate industry and workers and providing free small businesses consultations. We've also increased our enforcement in this industry.

"We've told our field staff to pay special attention to investigations of communication tower incidents. And while we are on site, our inspectors will collect more complete data about the job and what happened. This information will help OSHA to more fully understand and prevent these tragedies. Our inspectors will also be paying close attention to contracts and subcontracts to determine who is doing tower work and what their qualifications are. And we will be taking a hard look at the safety requirements that flow down through the contracts and how owners and contractors ensure that everyone involved meets those requirements.

"I sincerely hope that, together, we can turn this tide and get the message out that these tragedies should not be written off as the cost of doing business."

Monday, March 3, 2014

Falls from ladders are one of the leading causes of fatalites/injuries.

Falls from portable ladders (step, straight, combination and extension) are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries.
  • Read and follow all labels/markings on the ladder.
  • Avoid electrical hazards! – Look for overhead power lines before handling a ladder. Avoid using a metal ladder near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment.
  • Always inspect the ladder prior to using it. If the ladder is damaged, it must be removed from service and tagged until repaired or discarded.
  • Always maintain a 3-point (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) contact on the ladder when climbing. Keep your body near the middle of the step and always face the ladder while climbing (see diagram).
  • Only use ladders and appropriate accessories (ladder levelers, jacks or hooks) for their designed purposes.
  • Ladders must be free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps or feet.
  • Do not use a self-supporting ladder (e.g., step ladder) as a single ladder or in a partially closed position.
  • Do not use the top step/rung of a ladder as a step/rung unless it was designed for that purpose.
  • Use a ladder only on a stable and level surface, unless it has been secured (top or bottom) to prevent displacement.
  • Do not place a ladder on boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.
  • Do not move or shift a ladder while a person or equipment is on the ladder.
  • An extension or straight ladder used to access an elevated surface must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support (see diagram). Do not stand on the three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder.
  • The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface (see diagram).
  • A ladder placed in any location where it can be displaced by other work activities must be secured to prevent displacement or a barricade must be erected to keep traffic away from the ladder.
  • Be sure that all locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged.
  • Do not exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder. Be aware of the ladder’s load rating and of the weight it is supporting, including the weight of any tools or equipment.