DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Safety News Briefs

A regular news feature summarizing workplace safety related news.

We scan newspapers, magazines and the internet for safety news that isn't being reported elsewhere. The following are links to safety-related news and articles that came out during the past week. If you have safety news, or safety tips, send them to: duralabelpro@gmail.com.

New OSHA Exposure Limit Resource Combines Several Exposure Limits

Each year in the United States, workers are become sick or die from occupational exposures to hazardous chemicals. OSHA has announced two new online resources to assist employers with keeping their workers safe from hazardous chemical exposure.

While many chemicals are suspected of being harmful, OSHA's exposure standards are out-of-date and are not protective for some chemicals that are regulated in the workplace. The first new resource OSHA has created is a toolkit to identify safer chemicals that can be used in place of more hazardous ones. This toolkit walks employers and workers step-by-step through information, methods, tools and guidance to either eliminate hazardous chemicals or make informed substitution decisions in the workplace by finding a safer chemical, material, product or process. The toolkit is available at: http://www.osha.gov/dsg/safer_chemicals/index.html.

"We know that the most efficient and effective way to protect workers from hazardous chemicals is by eliminating or replacing those chemicals with safer alternatives whenever possible," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

OSHA has also created an online resource that provides Annotated Permissible Exposure Limits. These are annotated PEL tables, which enable employers to voluntarily adopt newer, more protective workplace exposure limits. OSHA's PELs set mandatory limits on the amount or concentration of a substance in the air to protect workers against the health effects of certain hazardous chemicals. OSHA will continue to enforce those mandatory PELs. However, since OSHA's adoption of the majority of its PELs happened more than 40 years ago, new scientific data, industrial experience and developments in technology clearly indicate that in many instances these mandatory limits do not sufficiently protect of workers' health.

"There is no question that many of OSHA's chemical standards are not adequately protective," Michaels said. "I advise employers, who want to ensure that their workplaces are safe, to utilize the occupational exposure limits on these annotated tables, since simply complying with OSHA's antiquated PELs will not guarantee that workers will be safe."

The annotated PEL tables provide a side-by-side comparison of OSHA PELs for general industry to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health PELs, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommended exposure limits, and American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist threshold limit values. They offer an easily accessible reference source for up-to-date workplace exposure limits. You'll find the tables online here: http://www.osha.gov/dsg/annotated-pels/index.html.

MSHA Issues First Notices Under New POV Rule

POV stands for "Pattern of Violation."  For the first 33 years this rule was in effect no mine was issued a POV.  This is the third year in a row MSHA has issued POV notices and the first time they have been issued under the new rules that went into effect this year.

The intent of the POV rule is to identify those mine operators that have a pattern of previous violations that indicates there may be a problem. The new POV rules eliminated the requirement that MSHA consider only fully adjudicated orders in its POV review. Now citations that are still being contested are included in determining there was a pattern of violations.

The West Virginia State Journal reports:

"Two West Virginia mines and one in Kentucky were put on notice of a pattern of violations of mandatory health or safety standards under a new rule from the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration. The Pattern of Violation screening was the first one conducted since MSHA's revised POV rule went into effect March 25."

Read the story in the West Virginia State Journal

Related past posts:
Must You Comply With Consensus Standards
How To Spot A Psychopath In Your Workplace
OSHA 2013 Top Ten Violations Announced

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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