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, February 03, 2014

Safety News Briefs - What Are Clothes And Why Is This Question Important?

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.

Supreme Court Finds Middle Ground on Definition of “Clothes” Under the FLSA

Last year the Supreme Court heard a case related to safety and for which the definition of "clothes" was important?  Existing law requires that, in some circumstances, employees are to be compensated for the time spent changing clothes, when this is required by the employer.  So, does putting on safety clothing qualify as "changing clothes?"

An article in JDSupra Business Advisor reports on the Supre Court decision.  The article opens by describing the sitution:

"On Monday, January 27, 2014, in unanimously affirming the Seventh Circuit’s judgment in favor of U.S. Steel Corporation in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp., the Supreme Court forged a middle ground on the meaning of the term “changing clothes” in section 3(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The outcome of this case will have a significant impact on unionized employers in a wide variety of industries where workers change in and out of protective and/or sanitary clothing at the start and end of their workdays, including food processing, light and heavy industrial manufacturing, chemical processing, energy production and health care.  However, the Supreme Court’s opinion also leaves some unanswered questions on the compensability of clothes changing under section 3(o)."

Read the complete article, and find out  what the final decision means.

Safety Training is Overrated

A post by Joe Stevens (Bridge Safety Consultants) in the OH&S blog points out the necessity of having follow-up after safety training. It states:

"The missing ingredient, in the vast majority of cases, is follow-up. Think of anything you deal with in life to confirm this. When there is no follow-up or follow through, what you have been told or learned fades from memory. What makes training more effective, and enhances learning, is thorough follow-up."

Read the OH&S post here.

CSB Seeks More Refinery Oversight After Tesoro Blast

The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) issued a draft report last Wednesday addressing the 2010 explosion and fire at a Tesoro Corp. refinery in Anacortes, Washington.  That accident resulted in seven deaths.  Manufacturing.net reports that the CBS says Washington state should implement a more proactive safety system at refineries to prevent future accidents.

"It also calls on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to work with the industry to come up with a new regulation requiring chemical facilities to make their operations inherently safer, such as replacing a material with one that's less hazardous or reducing the amount of hazardous material stored and used. It also recommends that state regulators audit all petroleum refineries in the state to prevent the kind of equipment failure that occurred at Tesoro's facility."

Read the story here.

OSHA Circumvents Rulemaking By Implementing "Recommended" Air Contaminant Exposure Limits

I've mentioned previously that OSHA is using the General Duty Clause to enforce limits on exposures to airborne contamination that are stricter than the OSHA PELs.  An article in Mondaq provides a good summary of the situation and what has been happening.

The opening paragraph states:

"Recently, OSHA launched a high-profile effort to address its permissible exposure levels (PELs) for chemicals in the workplace. OSHA last attempted to update its PELs — which are over four decades old — via a rulemaking in 1989. But that effort failed after the Eleventh Circuit struck it down. This time, rather than initiating a rulemaking to lawfully update its standards, OSHA published recommended' exposure levels on its website which are more stringent than their corresponding PELs."

Get the details about what OSHA is doing in this Mondaq article.

Related past posts:
Safety News Briefs - What To Expect From OSHA In 2014
Safety News Briefs - Can An Employee Sue Their Supervisor
Safety New Briefs - Never Assume Compliance With OSHA Standards

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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