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, January 13, 2014

Safety News Briefs - Never Assume Compliance With OSHA Standards

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.

OSHA Issues Guidance on Combustible Dust Hazards Under New HazCom Rule

OSHA has issued a memorandum that provides guidance for their compliance safety and health officers to use when determining whether manufacturers or importers have properly classified their products for combustible dust hazards under the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS).

 OSHA has not yet issued a rule on combustible dust.  The memorandum is to be used to determine if manufacturers and importers are in compliance with the obligations of 1910.1200(d) for combustible dust.

Bloomberg BNA has a summary of the memorandum that can be read here.

The Risks of Cutting Maintenance Costs

In this article in Reliable Plant magazine the author makes some points about safety and maintenance, however I'm not sure they are good points.  He begins by stating that having production workers do some maintenance is not a good idea, and then cites examples of production workers being responsible for safety.  While it is a good idea for the people doing the work to be involved in identifying safety hazards, and be responsible for working safe, it is generally not a good idea for them to also be in charge of safety.

In addition, with the initial premise the author completely ignores the principles of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), one of the main practices of the Toyota Production System. TPM makes machine and equipment operators responsible for some of the maintenance required by the equipment they operate.

Of course, it could be that this viewpoint results from the author being an attorney, not someone who is familiar with how things actually work.  Read the article for yourself (click here) and make your own decision.  Comments are welcome.

I2P2 Proposed Rule Coming in September

Occupational Health and Safety magazine is reporting that OSHA is planning to issue a proposed rule this coming September 2014 that will require employers to implement an injury and illness prevention program, commonly known as I2P2.  The OH&S article states:

"The rule, known as I2P2, has been described by Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels as his top rulemaking priority. Currently, voluntary Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines are in place, and these were published in 1989."

The article also lists other 2014 priorities OSHA has announced, including a new confined spaces rule scheduled to be issued in February.

Read the article here.

Good Advice: Never Assume Compliance With OSHA Standards

North American Windpower magazine has an article about electrical safety and compliance with OSHA requirements for training.  The article states:

 "Do your technicians have the knowledge and skills to be considered qualified electrical workers under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards? If not, save yourself a lot of headache and get with the OSHA program."

"Training records are among the first things the agency looks at during an audit. If you are doing on-the-job training, be sure to document that as well. If you don't document it, you cannot prove to OSHA that your organization is doing it."

The article discusses the meaning of "qualified," electrical hazard awareness, and the need for PPE training.

Read the article here.

OSHA Extends The Comment Period On Electronic-Reporting

OSHA is extending the comment period on the proposed rule called: "Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses," which would amend the recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness records.

OSHA received a request from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to extend the comment period an additional 90 days. NAHB’s reasons for requesting an extension include the overlap with the proposed crystalline silica rulemaking, which will also affect the construction industry. Further, the request stated that informing home builders and coordinating their responses will take time and effort beyond the 90 days provided.

OSHA has decided to extend the deadline for submitting comments to March 8, 2014, which provides stakeholders an additional 30 days. The extension ensures that stakeholders will have a full 120 days to submit comments, which OSHA believes is adequate for this limited rulemaking.

MSHA Releases Preliminary Fatality and Injury Data For 2013

Mining deaths sharply higher in 4th quarter, following record low fatality rates

According to preliminary data released by MSHA, 42 miners died in work-related accidents in 2013, an increase from the 36 miners who died in 2012. While mining fatalities occurred at a record low rate for the first three quarters of 2013, during the fourth quarter of 2013, six coal miners and nine metal/nonmetal miners died in mining accidents, a significant increase from the same period in 2012, when four coal miners and two metal/nonmetal miners died.

"Mining deaths are preventable, and those that occurred in 2013 are no exception," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "While we have made a number of improvements and have been moving mine safety in the right direction, the increased number of metal/nonmetal deaths makes clear we need to do more to protect our nation's miners."

Last year, there were 20 coal mining and 22 metal/nonmetal mining fatalities, compared with 20 and 16, respectively, in 2012. Four mining deaths in 2013 involved contractors (two each in coal and metal/nonmetal), marking the fewest number of contractor deaths since MSHA began maintaining contractor data in 1983. Fourteen of the coal mining deaths occurred underground and six occurred at surface operations. In metal/nonmetal mining, five deaths occurred underground, and 17 occurred at surface operations.

The most common causes of mining accidents in 2013 involved machinery and powered haulage equipment. West Virginia had the most coal mining deaths, with six, and Kentucky had the most metal/nonmetal mining deaths, with four.

For fiscal year 2013 (Oct. 1, 2012, through Sept. 30, 2013), preliminary data indicate a record-low fatality rate of .0104 and injury rate of 2.42, as well as the fewest number of mining deaths at 33.

Main stressed that, to prevent deaths, mine operators must:
  • maintain effective safety and health management programs that are constantly evaluated
  • continue find-and-fix programs to identify and eliminate mine hazards
  • provide training for all mining personnel.
An analysis of mining fatalities, along with best practices for mining operations, is available at:

Main's "From the Assistant Secretary's Desk — 4th quarter 2013 mining fatalities and end-of-year summary" is available at:

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Costello Goes To Washington To Oppose OSHA Electronic Reporting

The Republic, in Columbus, Indiana is reporting that the Oklahoma Labor Commissioner is traveling to Washington to testify in opposition to OSHA's proposed new electronic reporting rule.  There is growing concern that with this information being made available on the internet, there will be many misunderstandings, and an incentive to no report injuries. The result will be the opposite of what OSHA intends.

The article reports that:

"Mike Seney, senior vice president of policy analysis and strategic planning for the State Chamber of Oklahoma, agrees with Costello."

"'Oklahoma business owners know that employees are the most important asset, and the safety of our workers is paramount,' Seney said. 'That being said, the proposed regulations go too far with OSHA planning to post the data online. The recording of an accident or injury does not mean the employer was at fault or tell the full story of what happened.'"

Read the story here.

Meeting To Be Held By NIOSH On IBM Cancer Study

A cancer study of 34,000 former IBM employees who worked in circuit board manufacturing at IBM has found that their cancer rates were lower than the general population.  However, cancer rates were higher for several specific types of cancers.

Read the story in the Wall Street Journal

OSHA Will Hold A Live Web Chat On The Proposed Silica Rule

The live Web chat to discuss the agency's proposed rule on occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica will be held from 1:00 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. EST, on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Visit http://www.osha.gov/silica/webchat.html to participate.

The silica rule web chat will provide the opportunity to ask questions, get clarification from OSHA on the proposed silica rule, and learn how to participate in the regulatory process. OSHA staff will be available to clarify the proposed standards related to silica for general industry, maritime and construction. Staff will also answer questions on OSHA's underlying analysis of health risks, potential costs and benefits, and economic impacts associated with the proposed rule and how to submit comments to the rulemaking record.

Additional information on the proposed rule can be found at: http://www.osha.gov/silica.

OSHA Citation Vacated for Lack of Scientific Support

The National Law Review is reporting on a recent court decision in which an OSHA citation was thrown out because it was not supported by the scientific evidence.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reviewed an administrative law judge's decision concerning an employee of Caterpillar Logistics.  The employee worked in the packing department, unloading containers and packing shipping boxes.  The article states:

“We are surprised that an ALJ would echo such a position and that the full Commission would decline to intervene,” appeals court Judge Frank H. Easterbrook wrote in a decision vacating an OSHA recordkeeping citation. “Judges and other lawyers must learn how to deal with scientific evidence and inference.”

Read the article here.

Related past posts:
Part Of OSHA HCS Exeeds Authority
OSHA Disputes Senator's Claim
Senators Call For OSHA To Be Stopped

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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