Government Affairs

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS UPDATES – 10/12/2020

 

  1. (October 9, 2020) U.S. Department of Labor Urges Workers, Employers and PublicTo Be Aware of Hazards After Hurricane Delta

ATLANTA, GA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urges response crews and residents in areas affected by Hurricane Delta to be aware of hazards created by flooding, power loss, structural damage, fallen trees, and storm debris.

Recovery efforts after the storm may involve hazards related to restoring electricity and communications, removing debris, repairing water damage, repairing or replacing roofs, and trimming trees. Only individuals with proper training, equipment, and experience should conduct recovery and cleanup activities.

Protective measures after a weather disaster should include:

  • Evaluating the work area for hazards;
  • Assessing the stability of structures and walking surfaces;
  • Ensuring fall protection when working on elevated surfaces;
  • Assuming all power lines are live;
  • Keeping portable generators outside;
  • Operating chainsaws, ladders and other equipment properly; and
  • Using personal protective equipment, such as gloves, hard hats, and hearing, foot and eye protection.

“Workers involved in storm cleanup can face a wide range of safety and health hazards,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta, Georgia. “Implementing safe work practices, using appropriate personal protective equipment and ensuring workers are properly trained can help minimize the risk of injuries and fatalities during storm cleanup operations.”

OSHA maintains a comprehensive webpage on hurricane preparedness and response with safety tips to help employers and workers, including an alert on keeping workers safe during flood cleanup. Individuals involved in response and recovery efforts may call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

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 help 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.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

 

  1. (October 2, 2020) U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance for Using Tight-FittingPowered Air Purifying Respirators Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued temporary guidance for enforcing initial and annual fit-testing requirements related to tight-fitting powered air-purifying respirators. The action marks the Department’s latest step to ensure the availability of respirators and follows President Donald J. Trump’s Memorandum on Making General Use Respirators Available.

The new enforcement discretion policy permits the use of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved tight-fitting powered air-purifying respirators for protection against the coronavirus when initial and/or annual fit testing is infeasible due to respirator and fit-testing supply shortages. The guidance applies to healthcare personnel and other workers in high or very high exposure risk activities.

The guidance does not apply to powered air-purifying respirators that:

  • Have not been approved by NIOSH;
  • Are used by any workers with low or medium exposure risk to the coronavirus;
  • Are used by any workers for protection against airborne hazards other than the coronavirus, such as chemical hazards; or
  • Are loose-fitting and do not require fit testing.

If respiratory protection must be used, employers may consider the use of alternative classes of respirators that provide equal or greater protection compared to a N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirator, such as N99, N100, R95, R99, R100, P95, P99, and P100 respirators and NIOSH-approved, non-disposable elastomeric respirators or powered air-purifying respirators, either loose-fitting or tight-fitting.

This interim guidance will take effect immediately and remain in effect until further notice. It is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis. Visit OSHA’s Coronavirus webpage regularly for updates. For further information about the coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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 help 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.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

 

 

12/17/2019

Washington — OSHA has issued corrections for its Walking-Working Surfaces, Personal Protective Equipment and Special Industries standards to remove “typographical, formatting and clerical errors,” publishing a final rule in the Dec. 17 Federal Register.

In its Personal Fall Protection Systems Standard (1910.140), OSHA no longer requires the gate strength of snaphooks and carabiners to be proof tested to 3,600 pounds in all directions. Instead, the “intended requirement” is that the gate of carabiners and snaphooks are “capable of withstanding a minimum load of 3,600 pounds without the gate separating from the nose of the snaphook or carabiner body by more than 0.125 inches.”

OSHA made the correction to remain consistent with the ANSI/ASSE Z359.12-2009 standard. The agency warns that proof testing the gates may cause damage to the equipment and make them unsafe.

The other corrections:

  • Ladders, 1910.23(d)(4): The previous rule required that “the side rails of through or side-step ladders extend 42 inches above the top of an access level or landing platform served by the ladder.” The agency has added the words “at least” before “42 inches.”
  • Stairways, 1910.25(a): OSHA clarified that articulated stairs are not covered by this standard, and added a title to Figure D-8 in 1910.25(c).
  • Scaffolds and Rope Descent Systems, 1910.27(b)(1)(i): The agency corrected the metric equivalent of 5,000 pounds to 2,268 kilograms. It previously was listed as 268 kg.
  • Fall Protection Systems and Falling Object Protection – Criteria and Practices, 1910.29: OSHA corrected Figure D-11 to include labels for the “top rail” and “end post.”
  • Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution, 1910.269(h)(2): The agency changed the incorrect references to ladder standards to 1910.23(c)(4) and (c)(9).

 

12/30/2019

The below was provided by the Ohio Manufacturer’s Association in their 12/20 Leadership Briefing:

Year-End Updates from OSHA

Recent updates from OSHA include:

  • Employers who electronically submit OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping Form 300A must provide an Employer Identification Number as of Jan. 2, 2020.
  • OSHA has issued an updated National Emphasis Program to focus agency inspections on amputation hazards in manufacturing industries.
  • New federal data show the rate of fatal work injuries remained unchanged in 2018. However, unintentional overdoses at work increased by 12% — the sixth consecutive annual increase — while suicide at work jumped by 11%.

As part of your year-end housekeeping, be sure your facility has OSHA’s “Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law” poster (available for free) prominently displayed.

 

12/01/2019

OSHA just issued corrections to several regulations in today’s Federal Register. I thought it would be worth sharing with our members:

  • Ladders (§1910.23): Current §1910.23(d)(4) requires employers to ensure that the side rails of through or side-step ladders extend 42 inches above the top of the access level or landing platform served by the ladder. As stated in the preamble to the final rule, the agency intended workers to have sufficient handholds ‘‘at least 42 inches’’ above the highest level on which they will step when reaching the access level (81 FR 82494, 82542). OSHA is correcting this error by revising §1910.23(d)(4) to state that 42 inches is the minimum—not the exact— measurement for fixed ladder side rail extensions.
  • Stairways (§1910.25) Current §1910.25(a) sets forth the types of stairways covered under this section. These include all stairways except for stairs serving floating roof tanks, stairs on scaffolds, stairs designed into machines or equipment, and stairs on self-propelled motorized equipment. In this correction, OSHA is clarifying that articulated stairs, which were excluded from coverage by the rule adopted in 1971 (36 FR 10474), as well as by the rule proposed in 1990 (55 FR 13360, 13363), are not covered by the current standard. In the 2010 proposed rule and the 2016 final rule, OSHA referred to these stairs as ‘‘stairs serving floating roof tanks’’ but did not call them ‘‘articulated stairs.’’ (75 FR 28862, 28882; 81 FR at 82555). OSHA is now clarifying that all articulated stairs used in general industry, not just those serving floating roof tanks, remain excluded from coverage by §1910.25. By not including this exception, the standard would require all articulated stairs that do not serve floating roof tanks, including those that were previously excluded, to meet the requirements set forth in §1910.25. OSHA did not intend for any types of articulated stairs to be covered by the standard. The figure at 29 CFR 1910.25(c) immediately after Table D–1 does not have a title even though it is referred to as Figure D–8 in §1910.25(c)(4). The title of the figure was included in the proposed rule (75 FR at 29137) but mistakenly left out of the final rule (81 FR at 82989). This document adds the missing title to the figure: ‘‘Figure D–8— Dimensions of Standard Stairs’’.
  • Scaffolds and Rope Descent Systems (§1910.27) In paragraph (b)(1)(i) of §1910.27, OSHA is correcting a typographical error in the metric parenthetical for 5,000 pounds. The parenthetical currently states the metric equivalent to 5,000 pounds is 268 kg. The correct metric equivalent is 2,268 kg. Fall Protection Systems and Falling Object Protection—Criteria and Practices (§1910.29) OSHA is correcting Figure D–11 to include labels identifying the top rail and end post in the top diagram of the figure. The words ‘‘top rail’’ and ‘‘end post’’ were mistakenly omitted when the final rule was published in the Federal Register (81 FR at 82995).
  • Personal Fall Protection Systems (§1910.140) Current §1910.140(c)(8) requires D- rings, snaphooks, and carabiners to be proof tested to a minimum tensile load of 3,600 pounds without cracking, breaking, or incurring permanent deformation. The provision also requires the gate strength of snaphooks and carabiners to be proof tested to 3,600 pounds in all directions. In the November 18, 2016, final rule (81 FR at 82653), OSHA intended to be consistent with the ANSI/ASSE Z359.12–2009 consensus standard, Connecting Components for Personal Fall Arrest Systems. That consensus standard requires snaphooks, carabiners, and D- rings (and other hardware) to be proof tested to 3,600 pounds (ANSI/ASSE Z359.12–2009, section 3.1.1.6) and requires the gate of snaphooks and carabiners to be capable of withstanding a minimum load of 3,600 pounds without the gate separating from the nose of the snaphook or carabiner body by more than 0.125 inches (ANSI/ASSE Z359.12–2009, section 3.1.1.3). OSHA correctly added the first requirement to the 2016 final rule—namely the requirement that snaphooks, carabiners, and D-rings be proof tested to 3,600 pounds. When it came to the gate strength requirement, OSHA mistakenly added the requirement that the gate strength of snaphooks and carabiners be proof tested to 3,600 pounds in all directions instead of adding the intended requirement that the gate of snaphooks and carabiners be capable of withstanding a minimum load of 3,600 pounds without the gate separating from the nose of the snaphook or carabiner body by more than 0.125 inches. It should also be noted that proof testing of the gates of snaphooks and carabiners could be destructive to the equipment, rendering them unsafe for workers in the field. In this document, OSHA is correcting the gate strength provision to be consistent with the national consensus standard, as originally intended, and as stated in letters of interpretation to the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) (see response to question 5 here: https:// www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standard interpretations/2017-08-18) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) (see response to question 1 here: https://www.osha.gov/ laws-regs/standardinterpretations/2017- 08-31).
  • Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution (§1910.269) Section 1910.269(h)(2) contains references to ladder standards (§§1910.25(d)(2)(i) and (iii) and 1910.26(c)(3)(iii)) that are not the correct references. OSHA is revising §1910.269(h)(2) by replacing the incorrect references with the correct references, which are §1910.23(c)(4) and (9).

 

OSHA determined that this rulemaking is not subject to the procedures for public notice and comment specified in Section 4 of the Administrative Procedures Act (5 U.S.C. 553), Section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 655(b)), and 29 CFR 1911.5. This rulemaking only corrects typographical, formatting, and clerical errors, and provides more information about the requirements of some provisions. As it does not affect or change any existing rights or obligations, no stakeholder is likely to object to these corrections. Therefore, the agency finds good cause that public notice and comment are unnecessary within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), 29 U.S.C. 655(b), and 29 CFR 1911.5.

 

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-12-17/pdf/2019-27114.pdf

 

  • Ladders (§1910.23): Current §1910.23(d)(4) requires employers to ensure that the side rails of through or side-step ladders extend 42 inches above the top of the access level or landing platform served by the ladder. As stated in the preamble to the final rule, the agency intended workers to have sufficient handholds ‘‘at least 42 inches’’ above the highest level on which they will step when reaching the access level (81 FR 82494, 82542). OSHA is correcting this error by revising §1910.23(d)(4) to state that 42 inches is the minimum—not the exact— measurement for fixed ladder side rail extensions.
  • Stairways (§1910.25) Current §1910.25(a) sets forth the types of stairways covered under this section. These include all stairways except for stairs serving floating roof tanks, stairs on scaffolds, stairs designed into machines or equipment, and stairs on self-propelled motorized equipment. In this correction, OSHA is clarifying that articulated stairs, which were excluded from coverage by the rule adopted in 1971 (36 FR 10474), as well as by the rule proposed in 1990 (55 FR 13360, 13363), are not covered by the current standard. In the 2010 proposed rule and the 2016 final rule, OSHA referred to these stairs as ‘‘stairs serving floating roof tanks’’ but did not call them ‘‘articulated stairs.’’ (75 FR 28862, 28882; 81 FR at 82555). OSHA is now clarifying that all articulated stairs used in general industry, not just those serving floating roof tanks, remain excluded from coverage by §1910.25. By not including this exception, the standard would require all articulated stairs that do not serve floating roof tanks, including those that were previously excluded, to meet the requirements set forth in §1910.25. OSHA did not intend for any types of articulated stairs to be covered by the standard. The figure at 29 CFR 1910.25(c) immediately after Table D–1 does not have a title even though it is referred to as Figure D–8 in §1910.25(c)(4). The title of the figure was included in the proposed rule (75 FR at 29137) but mistakenly left out of the final rule (81 FR at 82989). This document adds the missing title to the figure: ‘‘Figure D–8— Dimensions of Standard Stairs’’.
  • Scaffolds and Rope Descent Systems (§1910.27) In paragraph (b)(1)(i) of §1910.27, OSHA is correcting a typographical error in the metric parenthetical for 5,000 pounds. The parenthetical currently states the metric equivalent to 5,000 pounds is 268 kg. The correct metric equivalent is 2,268 kg. Fall Protection Systems and Falling Object Protection—Criteria and Practices (§1910.29) OSHA is correcting Figure D–11 to include labels identifying the top rail and end post in the top diagram of the figure. The words ‘‘top rail’’ and ‘‘end post’’ were mistakenly omitted when the final rule was published in the Federal Register (81 FR at 82995).
  • Personal Fall Protection Systems (§1910.140) Current §1910.140(c)(8) requires D- rings, snaphooks, and carabiners to be proof tested to a minimum tensile load of 3,600 pounds without cracking, breaking, or incurring permanent deformation. The provision also requires the gate strength of snaphooks and carabiners to be proof tested to 3,600 pounds in all directions. In the November 18, 2016, final rule (81 FR at 82653), OSHA intended to be consistent with the ANSI/ASSE Z359.12–2009 consensus standard, Connecting Components for Personal Fall Arrest Systems. That consensus standard requires snaphooks, carabiners, and D- rings (and other hardware) to be proof tested to 3,600 pounds (ANSI/ASSE Z359.12–2009, section 3.1.1.6) and requires the gate of snaphooks and carabiners to be capable of withstanding a minimum load of 3,600 pounds without the gate separating from the nose of the snaphook or carabiner body by more than 0.125 inches (ANSI/ASSE Z359.12–2009, section 3.1.1.3). OSHA correctly added the first requirement to the 2016 final rule—namely the requirement that snaphooks, carabiners, and D-rings be proof tested to 3,600 pounds. When it came to the gate strength requirement, OSHA mistakenly added the requirement that the gate strength of snaphooks and carabiners be proof tested to 3,600 pounds in all directions instead of adding the intended requirement that the gate of snaphooks and carabiners be capable of withstanding a minimum load of 3,600 pounds without the gate separating from the nose of the snaphook or carabiner body by more than 0.125 inches. It should also be noted that proof testing of the gates of snaphooks and carabiners could be destructive to the equipment, rendering them unsafe for workers in the field. In this document, OSHA is correcting the gate strength provision to be consistent with the national consensus standard, as originally intended, and as stated in letters of interpretation to the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) (see response to question 5 here: https:// www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standard interpretations/2017-08-18) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) (see response to question 1 here: https://www.osha.gov/ laws-regs/standardinterpretations/2017- 08-31).
  • Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution (§1910.269) Section 1910.269(h)(2) contains references to ladder standards (§§1910.25(d)(2)(i) and (iii) and 1910.26(c)(3)(iii)) that are not the correct references. OSHA is revising §1910.269(h)(2) by replacing the incorrect references with the correct references, which are §1910.23(c)(4) and (9).

OSHA determined that this rulemaking is not subject to the procedures for public notice and comment specified in Section 4 of the Administrative Procedures Act (5 U.S.C. 553), Section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 655(b)), and 29 CFR 1911.5. This rulemaking only corrects typographical, formatting, and clerical errors, and provides more information about the requirements of some provisions. As it does not affect or change any existing rights or obligations, no stakeholder is likely to object to these corrections. Therefore, the agency finds good cause that public notice and comment are unnecessary within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), 29 U.S.C. 655(b), and 29 CFR 1911.5.

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-12-17/pdf/2019-27114.pdf