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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, December 16, 2013

Safety New Briefs - Is OSHA's New Use Of The General Duty Clause Legal?

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.


Lawyers Say General Duty Enforcement Tactic Could Have Broad Impact; OSHA Disagrees

OSHA has started to use the General Duty clause to enforce limits on hazardous substances that are more stringent than the limits in the OSHA standards.  There is a growing concern that this practice is not only illegal, but that it could be expanded to other areas of OSHA enforcement. What it allows OSHA to do is enforce limits and procedures that have not gone through the required process to become an OSHA standard.  Bloomberg BNA reports:

“When you have a specific standard as exists here, it's inappropriate for the agency to use the general duty clause to try to establish a more rigorous standard,” Jeffrey M. Tanenbaum, partner with Nixon Peabody LLP, told Bloomberg BNA Dec. 9 after examining the citation. “It's not the purpose of the general duty clause, and it really does an end run around the rulemaking process.”

Read the complete Bloomberg BNA article here.


Wyoming Works To Reduce Worker Traffic Deaths

The BLS reports that the leading cause of workplace deaths are vehicle accidents. Wyoming has established the Wyoming Transportation Safety Coalition to address this problem and decrease the number of on-the-job traffic accidents.

Created earlier this year by the request of the governor, and facilitated by the Wyoming Trucking Association, the coalition is a proactive organization working to develop processes that will aid in reducing transportation fatalities on the roadways of Wyoming.

An article in the Wyoming Star-Tribune describes the actions the coalition is taking to reduce traffic accidents.  Read the article here.


OSHA Confirms That Contaminated Healthcare Linen is Not Red Bag Waste

OSHA has issued a letter of interpretation concerning medical linens that are soiled with blood. Many healthcare facilities have been disposing of these linens as red bag waste.  The OSHA letter of interpretation states that they may be laundered and reused. This will result in significant cost savings for healthcare companies.  As reported in Infection Control Today:

"It’s a complex issue that costs our healthcare system hundreds of millions of dollars each year -- healthcare linen needlessly thrown away as infectious or red bag waste or regulated medical waste (RMW). The culprit is lack of education on Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) regulations for the proper handling of healthcare linen contaminated by blood/bodily fluids. This gap in understanding has caused many healthcare facilities to err on the side of caution and train staff to dispose of contaminated linen as red bag waste."

Read the complete article here.


OSHA and MSHA Release 2014 Regulatory Agendas

The National Law Review reports that OSHA and MSHA have announced their regulatory agendas for 2014 and the coming changes may substantially impact the business community.

OSHA's agenda includes silca dust, confined spaces, new whistleblower regulations, and personal fall protection.  The MSHA 2014 regulator agenda includes miners’ exposure to respirable coal dust, rules on machine proximity detection, and new fees testing, evaluating and approving mining products.

Read the article in the National Law Review.


Related past posts:
EPA Citation Can Result In An OSHA Fine
CSB Wants Changes At OSHA
General Duty Clause Used To Protect Workers From Chemical Hazards

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